Cloud slime recipe without instant snow

Just A Little Further 21/40

2023.06.06 14:18 jpitha Just A Little Further 21/40

First / Previous / Next
Fine. I admit it.
The Royal Dawn is a really nice hotel.
And the best part is, after my... demonstration to the Administrative offices today, I didn't have to order the Hotel to give us some rooms! They just offered rooms to us the minute we walked in!
I was given 'The Empress Suite.' I giggled at the name. I wonder if this had something to do with the royal retinue back in the day. Between the opulence, the name, and the theme it feels possible.
It is possible. There was always more than the Throne for you and your retinue. Every Starbase competed to offer you the most luxurious accommodations. After all, if you didn't like them, you could just rest on your starship.
My room - my suite of rooms actually - are easily the nicest place I've slept in my entire life. I made sure Omar, Ava, Um'reli and I each had our own rooms and while I'm glad that they have their own space, I'm too used to being around other people in the close quarters of FarReach or Starbases back home. I rattle around the rooms opening cabinets and drawers until I see it in the corner near a window overlooking the promenade.
They have a bath here!
It's made of some kind of golden flecked white stone, and is carved to look like it was weathered by the wind and water over millions of years. I figure out the taps, and set a bath going.
Once it's finished, I take off my outfit - Ugh, I wish I packed, this is my only clothes unless I use the Nanites to make more - and slip into the bath. It's blissfully relaxing.
I'm laying back in the tub, just floating, and I wish Ava was here with me.
Where did that come from?
I think for a split second about calling her in, but decide against it. I'm sure she'd come running if I called, I'm sure she'd be... enthusiastic about it, but I don't think I'm ready yet. I comfort myself with the thought, and soak for nearly an hour.
After, I dry and climb into the bed naked. I'll deal with clothes tomorrow.
More wild dreams.
My ship, operated and led by my most trusted Builder, Aeche, carries us to her prized Starbase. Built on her order for me, it's beautiful. She takes me on a tour, and we visit all of the highlights. She is especially proud of the transit system, the largest off planet in the Empire.
A team of 10 Builders live and work at the Reach operating in shifts to make sure all the needs of the residents and builders that live here are taken care of. It's one of the most complex Starbases yet and one of the most impressive.
That night, she comes to my rooms while I'm in the bath. She asks to join me, and I accept. For her, this is a culmination of months of jockeying and positioning to catch my eye, it's the realization of a goal years in the making.
For me, it's a fun night. She is easy on the eyes though, I see no harm in keeping her around for a while.
The next day, she leads me to the Throne. The only larger one exists back home on Imperia and I get the impression that this one is smaller only out of courtesy.
Sitting upon the Throne, with a full contingent of Builders behind me, I'm able to instantly take stock of my Empire. Things are going well. There are new reports from the frontier, and I set them to my ship, Worldshaker, so I have something to read while en route to the K'laxi.
This is the last stop before I go see the K'laxi, turn their Gate back on and remind them what the price of insubordination is. Worldshaker is getting reprovisioned and refreshed as the trip is longer than normal and I want to make sure we can stay a while if needed. On my way out, I'll touch the Gate, and commit an upload.
That night, Aeche visits me again, and we have more fun. After, we go to bed and I lay awake thinking about next steps. Aeche sighs and rolls over in her sleep next to me. I stroke her hair gently. Yes, things are going quiet well. It's nice to have some quiet.
I wake up in my bed, alone, in the hotel room, fully myself again. Not only was that the most... idyllic dream I've had yet, it's the first that I felt like it was me doing the things, not some other Empress.
Yes, the Nanites are doing well. You can probably integrate with the Throne if you were to try. It's up to you however. But remember you told The Smell of Soil after Rain to bring everyone today. We should head over there.
Hmm Good point. Okay, let's get up, get dressed, grab everyone and head over. I look over at my outfit from yesterday. It's nice, and it's impressive, but if I'm going to be presenting as Empress to everyone, I need something... more.
I concentrate and think about what would be right. I don't think about specifics, I let the Nanites take my whims into consideration and see what I get. The fog cloud of them surrounds me and my outfit from yesterday and I when they finish I turn and look in the mirror near the bath.
I'm still in royal blue - good, I like that color - but the outfit now is a... strapless ball gown? It's rather severely low cut - I wonder if that's from dreaming about Aeche - and the dress clings on the top half and billows and flows on the lower half and ends in sparking stars and nebulae on a train that flows behind me, rippling gently as if a breeze is blowing it. I check and... yes, it's not touching the ground. That's a neat trick. I'm wearing taller heels than yesterday too, but at least they're comfortable - for now. It's not something that Lieutenant Mullen would ever wear, but it seems... right for Empress Melody The First. I'll roll with it. In deference to who I am, there is a way to mount my rifle on my back. I click it in place and feel complete. I wonder how many Empresses were armed?
Many were. We even have records of a few who would carry a battle rifle with them.
That brings me some happiness. Even after how different we are, there are still some things that I share with Empresses across time.
As I open the door to leave, I see Omar, Ava and Um'reli in the hall already dressed and ready. They turn to see me and Ava and Um'reli both gasp and blush. Omar grins wickedly. "Melody, I have to say that this is the first time since you told us you were an Empress that you look the part. That is an amazing outfit."
I curtsy slightly "Thank you Omar. Did you all sleep well? I have a hunch with the Nanites you had... intense dreams?"
Ava snaps her had up to me. "I did! I dreamt that I was running a Starbase. We were preparing for your visit and I had so much to do, but I knew how to do all of it, and I had a really strong team, and you complimented our readiness when you arrived!"
Um'reli looks at me with an odd expression. "I did too, but... I dreamt I was a human. A Builder. I was operating a Starship, the Sunrunner. We were tasked by you directly to tour the frontier worlds and build a report about how they were doing, if they needed anything and if we thought there was any unrest. We were very proud because you had personally asked for us."
"What about you Omar?" Ava turns and looks at him.
"Yeah, I had a vivid dream. I dreamt that I was a planetary administrator. I ruled over more than a billion people on a world with two suns. One was white and the other was larger and redder. I remember clearly the odd shadows it cast, and how everything had an odd coloration. You had requested an increase in the delivery of Magnesium. We were able to meet the new quota this time, but I was worried that if you had requested to keep the quote high, how we would be able to make it without overworking the miners."
"Wow, so not only did you dream about being a Builder, not only did you dream about being a powerful Builder, but you all were in direct contact with the Empress. I wonder if that's because you received your Nanites from me directly."
"Who knows?" Um'reli looks at all of us. "But I for one am starving. Let's get some breakfast and go back to the Throne. Melody has a performance to give."
We head downstairs and sure enough there is a restaurant attached to the Hotel. We sit down and immediately I ask for a carafe of boiling hot water to be brought. While we wait, I take out my hand grinder and scale and make some coffee. By the time the water arrives, everything is ready. The Mariens who brought me the water is watching curiously as I make the coffee. Soon enough, it's finished, and I take the first sip of coffee in nearly three days.
Ahh, now, I can rule.
"Pardon my asking, Empress, but what is that?" The Mariens points to my beverage.
"It's called coffee. It's the roasted seed of a plant that's native to the planet we lived on. I like to drink an extraction of it made with boiling water. It does have a chemical, called caffeine, that offers a stimulant effect to Hu-Builders, but we've found it to be toxic to other Sapients, like our friends the K'laxi here. You can smell it if you'd like though." I hold out the cup.
The Mariens leans in and gently inhales. They lean back sharply and look at me. "That smells amazing." Their body language expresses wonder. "Truly, the Builders do amazing things. Now, what will you be having for breakfast?"
We order and eat and walk towards the Throne. As we're walking this time, people are not ignoring us. Children wave, people follow us with their eyes. They don't seem to be fearful of us, more respectful this time. As we turn a corner, I see Rapid River Roaring and The Smell of the Ocean. They look worse for wear. Both of them have matted feathers, even a few bare spots. Wild eyed they're looking around. River is clutching a bag of some kind.
Uh oh.
They turn and see me. Relief washes over them and they run up to me "Empress! My Empress!" They both approach me and bow low, head touching the ground. "We have completed your task. We have found Vivvix and Zemmlin and brought them to you."
Ava looks around. "But, where are they?"
I know where they are.
River opens the bag they're carrying.
Inside are most of Vivvix and Zemmlin.
"I see..." I try to not look unsettled. Omar's face darkens and he turns away. Ava look in and nods, satisfied. Um'reli doesn't look in, but she isn't unsettled by this development either.
Well. What's done is done. "I would have preferred they be brought to me alive, but my fault for not specifying that. Where were they?"
"The cowards were hiding in the docks. They were attempting to board another ship and catch up to that traitor, Ottarn. We were able to surprise them, and carried out your order, Empress."
"Yes, I can see that. Er, thank you both for your hard work. Go to High Line and find Starlight on a Moonless Evening. After this presentation, I plan on visiting the ship to assess it for refitting.
They both bow again. "Empress."
First / Previous / Next
submitted by jpitha to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 11:19 tomreviewoto Engage & follow up with customers using inbuilt ai-powered email & sms I want to assist YOU in building a profitable agency at this ideal time. Start, Run, and Grow Your Agency Business in THREE of the Most Popular Niches in the World with the World's First and Only Agency Accelerator. icon1 Use Done-For-You Resources and Assets to Get Started IMMEDIATELY. icon3 Run your agency with AI-driven Systems. icon4 Grow Your Agency Using Tools That Track, Analyze, and Simplify Complex Data for You. Icon 6 of the Zero Learning Curve (1) BONUS: Included is a commercial license. GET ACCESS TO AGENCY iCeleraite NOW Start, Run, and Grow An Agency For Yourself and Your Clients In Three Easy Steps Starting an agency is really easy with Agency iCeleraite... STEP 1 PICK A NICHE Social Media Marketing Agency Voiceover Agency Video Marketing Agency Content Marketing Agency Chatbot Agency Course Creation Agency Email Marketing Agency Mobile App Agency Graphic Design Agency Facebook Ads Agency Web Design Agency Ada Compliance Agency CopyWriting Agency STEP 2 1-CLICK GENERATE Let Me Show You... Watch Me Create A Full-Blown Ready-To-Profit Agency in Minutes Our Users and Beta Testers Are Completely Blown Away By Agency iCeleraite? Innovative App: With Agency iCeleraite's user-friendly interface, even a 6-year-old can start an agency!
As a matter of fact, I'm so sure about the straightforwardness Organization iCeleraite that I accept even my young niece could utilize it to begin her own organization! It's that simple and easy to find. Thinking back, my main lament isn't finding this strong application prior. If I had discovered it sooner, I can only imagine how much further ahead I might have been. I'm so excited, Adaobi C. Steve! Office iCeleraite has made it simple to track down leads anyplace on the planet. I have saved a lot of money, time, and effort. Within the next few days, I will meet with my fourth client within a month. I'm so happy! Suarez Mendez's Rise from Depression and Debt to Success: How a Man Made $4530 in 48 Hours Using the Business Accelerator Guide from Agency iCeleraite Agency iCeleraite saved my life. Regardless of battling with despondency from employment cutback and obligation, their answer assisted me with producing pay utilizing their Organization Applications. Using Copy Assistant's cold email sequence and their business accelerator guide, I closed a $4,530 deal in just 48 hours. Everlastingly appreciative for their extraordinary work. Jonathan How AI Changed My Workplace: Agency iCeleraite dispelled my initial concerns about AI, going from fear of automation to more job requests than ever before. The incorporation of this Agency AI into my business has resulted in a flurry of job opportunities and requests, not job loss. I've never had so much work before, and I'm excited about the opportunities it opens up for my field. Instead of completely replacing our work, technology has demonstrated its true potential to enhance and supplement it. Tabitha Sterenberg Presently YOU Can Begin An Office Business... 3d x symbol WITHOUT... fostering a marketable strategy to frame administrations, valuing technique, promoting methodology, and monetary projections 3d x symbol WITHOUT... recruiting a group of experts like substance makers, visual fashioners, Web optimization and virtual entertainment specialists, and venture supervisors 3d x symbol WITHOUT... building a site, making a logo, and laying out an online entertainment presence 3d x symbol WITHOUT... purchasing costly apparatuses to oversee solicitations, clients, showcasing and correspondences 3d x symbol WITHOUT... paying a huge number of dollars to run promotions to track down your most memorable client You'll Be WOWED! GET ACCESS TO AGENCY iCeleraite NOW FOR A ONE-TIME FEE WITHOUT COMMITMENTS! Your Profitable Agency Business Will Be Ready IMMEDIATELY! Launch YOUR Proficient Office TO OFFER Administrations FOR A Superior Charge Utilizing Instruments YOU Currently OWN Computerized LEAD Age, CONTENT CREATION, & PROJECT The board, and Considerably MORE… Track down CLIENTS WITH THE Implicit Computer based intelligence Fueled Instrument & Begin Benefitting FROM DAY #1 WITHOUT RUNNING ANY Promotions Utilize THE FREE Business Permit TO Help other people START, RUN and Develop THEIR Organization BUSINESS FOR $2K - $10K Each MONTH 100s and 1,000s Of NEW Organizations Begin Consistently… One of the legitimate issues of the pandemic, particularly during the dubious early days, was the ascent of business. Millions of people in the United States started new businesses and side jobs. Entrepreneurship boom during pandemic was not a one-time occurrence: More Americans formed than in 2022. Thousands of entrepreneurs with in-demand tech skills are now looking for work as a result of thousands of job cuts at big tech companies like Google, Meta, Microsoft, and Amazon... They are: FE-check-Level2 Starting their own businesses; FE-check-Level2 Collaborating with colleagues to launch a new startup; FE-check-Level2 Consulting; FE-check-Level2 Investing in the acquisition of an existing online business; And in order to start, run, and grow their businesses, they are constantly looking for agencies to create marketing assets and resources that they desperately need every day, such as Social Media, Content, Email Marketing, SEO, ChatBots, Video Marketing, In this day and age, every online business, new and old, needs to hire talent, freelancers, or agencies to... Approx. $5,000/month All out COST: Approx. $2,400 per month OVERALL COST: Approx. $2,300 per month OVERALL COST: Approx. $2,500 per month OVERALL COST: Approx. $4000 per month OVERALL COST: Approx. $2,400/month All out COST: Approx. $1,500 per month OVERALL COST: Approx. $500/month As may be obvious… maintaining a productive internet based business can effectively costs $20,000 consistently. What if you could charge your clients between $2k and $10k per month for assisting them in starting, managing, and expanding their agency? With the right equipment, now is the ideal time to start an agency, but wait! It's not easy to start an agency; you need to: Stage 1 Pick a Help to Offer Conclude what administration you need to offer… whether you need to be a full-administration office, offering one help, or matching a couple of free administrations. Stage 2 Pick a Specialty Tight down on your desired specialty to serve. You can target SaaS, e-commerce, technology, etc. STEP 3: Make a Website Either hire a professional to create a website for you or make one yourself using complicated software and hundreds of dollars. Step 4: Cold Calling and Cold Emailing Contact cold leads by phone and send them emails introducing your company. Rejection is a reality 99.99% of the time. STEP 5: Build a Portfolio To build your portfolio, spend a few weeks creating assets and resources. This is necessary so that you can demonstrate to your customers the kind of outcomes you can achieve. STEP 6: Create Content Write blogs and website copy. You might also have to regularly hire someone else to do this. STEP 7: Create Social Media Accounts Once more, you'll need to hire someone to handle this every day. STEP 8: Find Clients and Market Yourself You'll need to spend a few thousand dollars to buy cold leads and/or run ads on Facebook, Google, and other social media platforms. STEP 9: Provide Service Once you have a client, you must decide how to provide your services. Step 10: Get Paid Choose a method for collecting payments from customers. What would you do if you could start, run, and grow an agency in a matter of minutes? check copia Imagine a scenario in which YOU could get a total bit by bit activity guide for setting up an office in 30 unique specialties. check copia Imagine a scenario in which YOU could get moment admittance to NEW clients on request alongside their messages, addresses, site data, telephone numbers, proprietor contact subtleties, virtual entertainment accounts, pattern details,& site streamlining. check copia Consider the possibility that YOU could have simulated intelligence make staggering, high-changing over duplicates for all your showcasing needs including… Blog Entries, SMS Messages, Pipe Duplicates, Titles, Email Subjects, Email Swipes, Social Posts, Images, Promotions and the sky is the limit from there - all from simply a solitary watchword. Check copia What if you could automatically publish content to all of your social media accounts, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook? check copia What if you could manage leads and customers, track projects for clients, and manage estimates, proposals, and invoices all from a single dashboard? check copia And what if YOU could engage your leads and customers by sending targeted, personalized SMS and email messages? Presenting... The First and Only Agency Accelerator in the World! Choose a niche and click a button to start your next agency! 3D x icon requires no additional tools. 3D x icon Agency iCeleraite Comes Equipped With SIX AI-Powered Tools... Agency Accelerator Blueprint Want to skyrocket your agency's success? The ultimate resource for your assistance is our Agency Accelerator Blueprint: Everything you need to take your agency to the next level and beyond is included in our step-by-step action plan. Agency Client Finder 3d x icon Get instant access to their... We constantly update our technology... so that you have access to the most up-to-date contact details and business information. 3d x icon No need to spend thousands of dollars on creating lead magnets. Generating NEW leads on demand is fun and easy with our Agency Client Finder. Agency Client Finder Say goodbye to writer's block and welcome THE ULTIMATE COPYWRITING SOLUTION! Our AI-powered Copy Assistant uses a single keyword to create stunning, high-converting copy for all of your marketing needs, including: traffic-getting BLOG POSTS Highly Persuasive SMS MESSAGES High-converting FUNNEL COPY Sales-generating HEADLINES Click-getting EMAIL SUBJECTS High-converting EMAIL SWIPS High Even existing text is rewritten, saving you time and effort. Also, with our underlying social banner, you can undoubtedly share your manifestations Via Virtual Entertainment FOR Most extreme Openness AND Expanded TRAFFIC and deals. Our AI-Powered Copy Assistant is the ideal tool to take your marketing to the next level, no matter how experienced or novice you are. With our Social Media Publisher, you can take your social media game to the next level! Express farewell to the issue of exclusively posting on different stages - our a single tick arrangement lets you distribute content across the entirety of your virtual entertainment profiles… With our easy to understand interface, you can undoubtedly deal with all your web-based entertainment records and timetable posts ahead of time, saving you time and exertion. Client Interaction Chief Prepared to take your client the executives to a higher level? Our across the board arrangement incorporates all that you want to… Oversee Clients & LEADS TRACK CLIENT Ventures TRACK Solicitations TRACK Proposition TRACK Appraisals With our easy to understand interface, you can undoubtedly monitor all your client information and smooth out your cycles for greatest proficiency. For all of your customers' requirements, say goodbye to scattered spread sheets and hello to a centralized hub. If you want to keep your business running smoothly, this is the ultimate tool. System for SMS and Email Broadcasting Powered by AI Want to Increase Customer Engagement? You're covered with our AI-powered Email/SMS Broadcast System! Using our built-in Email and SMS broadcast feature, you can easily engage with your customers and send follow-up messages with our powerful tool. Our easy to understand interface makes it simple to make furthermore, send messages that reverberate with your crowd, regardless of what industry you're in. Once Charge No Month to month Costs Gain admittance TO Organization iCeleraite NOW Organization ICELERAITE IS THE Main Application YOU Want TO: START YOUR NEW AGENCY WITH A ONE-CLICK AGENCY SET-UP! Agency iCeleraite offers a comprehensive, step-by-step guide for starting a business in 30 different niches. To start your own agency business now, you don't need any experience. Get expert advice on how to run a successful agency and earn more money to save time and avoid costly errors. ACCESS FROM ANYWHERE AND AT ANY TIME With Agency iCeleraite's cloud-based solution, you can access your marketing tools and features from any device, regardless of whether you are working from home, traveling, or just need to step away from your desk. DETAILED ANALYTICS & REPORTS Agency iCeleraite improves employee productivity, manages your finances more effectively, and optimizes your marketing strategy with our user-friendly interface that is optimized for desktop and mobile devices. Get itemized experiences and reports on undertakings, time logs, finance, participation, leaves, email missions, and that's just the beginning… Our easy to understand interface and adjustable reports make it simple to get to and decipher the information that means a lot to you. MAKE BUSINESS DECISIONS BASED ON DATA By streamlining your operations, eliminating inefficiencies, reducing costs, and improving your bottom line, you can identify areas of your business that require improvement. With Organization iCeleraite's information driven direction… you can undoubtedly graph your direction to progress and more benefits. Starting an agency is where the real profits are! There is a one-time fee and no monthly costs. GET ACCESS TO AGENCY iCeleraite RIGHT NOW! Presently You Want To Pick How You Believe Should Make it happen… Beginning An Office WITHOUT Office Icelerate handsdown You continue contemplating beginning an organization since you know there's a great deal of benefit expected in doing as such handsdown You attempt to sort out the specialty that would be generally productive for you handsdown You search the web and converse with different coaches/masters (who charge you a bomb) to understand what all you really want to begin an office handsdown You enlist consultants and offices to make all the showcasing assets and resources for your new organization handsdown You recruit individuals to oversee virtual entertainment represents your new organization handsdown You burn through a great many dollars and innumerable hours on making lead magnets to track down clients handsdown You recruit somebody to oversee correspondence and draw in with your clients for you handsdown You enlist a group of experts to run day to day tasks to run and develop your Organization Beginning An Office WITH Office Icelerate handsdown You are prepared to send off your new organization WITHOUT recruiting an expert group or purchasing numerous instruments handsdown You take your pick from the 30 MOST productive offices inside Organization iCeleraite handsdown You just check Every one of the containers in the Organization outline you get inside Organization iCeleraite handsdown You essentially utilize the 6 simulated intelligence fueled instruments inside Organization iCeleraite to make All that you really want handsdown You turn via web-based entertainment robotization and watch your social presence develop handsdown Our implicit Client Locater finds NEW leads in light of your favored area, socioeconomics, and so on. iCelerate Is PERFECT For You If You Have Ever Bought... A Funnel Builder Web Design Agency A Content Creation Tool ContentMarketing Agency A Web Design App ContentMarketing Agency A Graphic Design App Graphic Design Agency Social Post Builder Social Media Marketing Agency ADA Compliance Tool ADA Compliance Agency Mobile App Creator Mobile App Agency Voiceover Artist Voiceover Agency Course Creation Tool Course Creation Agency A Video Creation Tool Video Marketing Agency Market Research Tool Market Research Agency Presentation Maker Presentation Design Agency List Building Tool Listing BUilding
submitted by tomreviewoto to u/tomreviewoto [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 07:31 vren55 [A Fractured Song] - Chapter 190- Fantasy, Isekai (Portal Fantasy), Adventure

Cover Art!
Just because you’re transported to another world, doesn’t mean you’ll escape from your pain.
Abused by her parents, thirteen-year-old Frances only wants to be safe and for her life not to hurt so much. And when she and her class are transported to the magical world of Durannon to fight the monsters invading the human kingdoms and defeat the self-titled Demon King, Frances is presented with a golden opportunity. If she succeeds, Frances will have the home she never had. If she fails, Frances will be summoned back to the home she escaped.
Yet, despite her newfound magic and friends, Frances finds that trauma is not so easily lost. She is dogged by her abuse and its physical and invisible scars. Not only does she have to learn magic, she has to survive the nightmares of her past, and wrestle with her feelings of doubt and self-loathing.
If she can heal from her trauma, though, she might be able to defeat the Demon King and maybe, just maybe, she can find a home for herself.
Teaser: The fall of the Traditionalists
[The Beginning] [<=Chapter 189] [Chapter Index and Blurb] [Chapter 191 on June 12 or now on patreon]
The Fractured Song Index
Discord Channel Just let me know when you arrive in the server that you’re a Patreon so you can access your special channel.
The flares had gone up, but the gates remained shut. Martin hadn’t stopped staring at them since the troops had moved into position. He’d only paused to blink.
It was unlikely they’d been betrayed. The Water Tower had fallen to their forces after all. That being said, there were always delays in military operations—
Martin blinked. The gates were swinging open.
“Alright everybody! Up and at them. Mages, smoke us up! Musketeers suppressing fire!”
Cheers rang out along the line as puffs and clouds of mist and smoke began to shroud the Lightning Battalion. Horns blared as the wave of soldiers charged.
Martin was at the head of them, shield raised. He knew his kit was a little archaic, but frankly he could use the extra protection at the moment.
As they neared the gatehouse, Martin could hear sounds of battle within. As he made it over the drawbridge and into the building he could see a ring of soldiers marked with blue and red armbands trying to defend the opened second gate against a flood of soldiers coming from the main castle building.
“For Erisdale!” Martin bellowed.
He and the Lightning Battalion plunged into the melee with troops flooding through the gatehouse,.. Martin managed to slam his shield into one of Darius’s soldiers and stab them, before stepping back to look around.
Already he had teams of soldiers rushing up to help with those fighting in the gatehouse proper. Musketeers were taking position and the mages they had were casting spells at the incoming reinforcements.
There were a lot of Darius’s troops coming, though. They were rushing out of every door, and from every tower to concentrate on the breach.
Martin grimaced. He was sure that he was going to break through at some point, but it would take time. The rest would have to be up to Jessica’s team.
“Come on! We’re nearly there,” said Elizabeth.
Leaning heavily on her, Leila limped as fast as she could. They’d healed her as much as they could but she was still exhausted from the ordeal she’d suffered.
“Why don’t you just carry me—” Leila cut herself off with a Word of Power. Several soldiers were running down road leading to the Citadel, trying to intercept the pair. A fireball erupted from in front of them and smashed into the unfortunate enemies, blasting them off their feet. Leila waved Elizabeth’s arched eyebrow off. “Nevermind. Give me a moment.”
“Yeah, hard to cast if you’re being carried.” Elizabeth paushed to look behind, down toward the city. The way the Traditionalist defense line had been structured was that it left a protected section of the city between the Citadel and the Water Tower.
Before her eyes, Erlenbergian ships were pulling into the harbour, disgorging hundreds of marines and mages that stormed into the city. The Traditionalist forces that had been attempting to retake the Water Tower were now flanked. It would take time however, until they could take control of the area and make their way to the Citadel.
But at least at this moment, the gate that led up to the Citadel proper was unguarded, the drawbridge down. The soldiers having been stripped to defend the city and the main gatehouse or try to secure the harbour.
“You ready?” Elizabeth asked, glancing at Leila.
The Otherworlder shook her head. “Nope, but I need to be at Janize’s side,” she croaked out.
Elizabeth giggled. “Well, since you are hopelessly in love with her. Let’s get you there.”
Leila rolled her eyes. “Fuck you,” she stammered, but she was unable to help herself from smiling.
Scarlet was damn good and tricky to fight against. The head of the Red Order had stored a number of spells into her magical rings, which she used to vary up her arsenal. Fireballs would be followed by vines sprouting from the ground. The earth would suddenly ice up, followed by gusts of wind that would try to knock Ayax off her feet. She was also very fast, and Ayax found herself dancing around Darius’s garden, using whatever cover she could and shields to keep herself safe.
The problem was that as the fight drew on and Scarlet continued to keep throwing spells, the outcome of the fight became clearer and clearer.
Ayax was not the head of a mage order. She didn’t quite have the extensive magical equipment that Scarlet had in her possession. Scarlet also had a powerful magical gift and the cost of it was not a mobility impairment. Leila had told Ayax that Scarlet was missing an eyeball, having replaced her missing eye with a glass replica.
That pupil-less eyeball now glimmered at Ayax as the troll returned Scarlet’s fireball with a larger fireball of her own, forcing the mage to take cover behind a statue of a knight that was blasted apart. Scarlet stepped out to cast, but Ayax was faster, she had already thrown several magical cards. They slammed into the red-robed mage, crackling and popping, smoke and sparks blinding the woman. She barely managed to get a shield up but instead of hitting her again, Ayax paused for a split second before throwing more cards.
These hit Scarlet clean again and she screamed as she staggered, firing magical bolts wildly. Ayax practically just sidled behind a tree and watched the mage pant as she gathered her own power.
No, Ayax had none of Scarlet’s money or ability, but she did have years of seeing the most intense frontline combat of the Great War. She had trained against the most powerful mages of her time, Edana and Frances Windwhistler. She was a gifted mage in her own right with unparalleled athleticism and grace. And to top it all off, she had read Scarlet’s rhythm of casting and was now very much in it and messing with her.
Oh and she’d exhausted Scarlet by making her cast all the spells she had.
So when Ayax threw Frances’s lightning spell over her shoulder, Scarlet only barely blocked it. The woman was knocked backwards and slammed into the perimeter wall of the mansion.
Ayax was soon charging after her. Scarlet managed to fire a torrent of water at her, but the troll sang, drawing up a wind that lent speed to her step and pulling up a mound of earth that blocked the jet. She ducked under the woman’s clumsy attempt to cast a slashing spell at her, and slammed her staff into Scarlet’s head.
Blood poured from the cut across her skull, and the woman crumpled to the ground. Her glass eyeball popped out from the force of the blow, rolling onto the glass. For good measure, Ayax grabbed Scarlet’s wand and pocketed it. She also cast a binding spell that would stick the woman’s arms and legs together so she couldn’t get up.
Then she stared.
One of her parent’s killers was lying in front of her, unconscious and helpless. Scarlet wouldn’t even know if Ayax cut her throat with a dagger. It was more mercy than she deserved.
Biting her lip so hard Ayax thought she was going to cut herself, she turned on her heel. The troll forced marched herself away, thinking of her dear Elizabeth and how she needed help.
Step after step turned into a run and soon Ayax was racing down the city streets for the gate leading to the Citadel.
As she rounded a corner, she saw a column of soldiers fast-marching, also towards the main castle.
“Ayax!” called out a very filthy red-haired woman.
The troll ran up to her friend. “Ginger, oh dear, that was a horrible trip wasn’t it?” Ayax asked as she took in Ginger’s odor.
“Yes. I strongly advise you don’t touch me,” said Ginger. She tilted her head to another approaching mage, whose orange dress quickly gave up her identity.
“Ophelia Voidsailor, good to see you in person!” Ayax exclaimed, clasping her fellow Erlenbergian’s deformed hand.
“Ayax Windwhistler. We never settled who won the Winter Tournament did we?” Ophelia asked.
“I conceded to you if I recall.”
“Bah! That doesn’t count! I want a rematch once this is all over!” Ophelia giggled. She coughed into her fist. “We’ve secured the harbour and the Water Tower. The Traditionalist’s remaining forces are running to the Citadel.”
“Excellent, lets hope Janize holds out long enough for us to get there,” said Ginger, starting to jog again.
It was terribly un-queenly behaviour and perhaps didn’t do the best for the morale of her soldiers, but Janize decided not to sit in her throne. Rather, she was using the very large chair as cover and had opted to sit on a simple wooden chair.
Even then she wasn’t entirely safe and despite herself, she couldn’t help but hold onto a bunch of her crimson hair, as she desperately attempted to keep her breathing level.
Erisdale’s throne room featured the standard long hallway leading up to an upraised dais and two thrones. It also had a second-level gallery meant for nobles to be able to gather and watch the proceedings. This gallery comprised of two large rooms open to the throne room itself. Sculpted stone railings kept the onlookers safe. Underneath the upper galleries were two covered hallways which functioned as ways for people to go up and down the the throneroom without just walking through the main hall.
Normally, there were ways to get to the upper galleries, but the soldiers loyal to Janize had barricaded these entrances. They could not however, barricade the stairways to the entrances that were near the throne room’s main entrance and led up to the galleries. Their defense relied on them holding the throne room’s main front.
Naturally, that had been the focus of the assault by Darius and his soldiers.
“Master George, I distinctly recall you informing me the Throne room was the safest in the Citadel?” Janize mused ass stray bullets whizzed over their heads.
Crouched down beside her behind an upturned table, George smiled wanly. “Yes. It has enough space to hold the soldiers loyal to you, and the entrances can easily be blocked off. The other barricaded entrances can also be opened if we want to make a break for it. So yes, this is the safest place when you consider the other option is your personal chambers which can’t hold all your guards.” Fluidly rising to his feet, George fired a musket down and reloaded. “Hang tight, I’m going to check on the other barricades.”
Janize nodded slowly. She was getting a bit better at not wincing at every crack and whine from the spells and bullets that were sailing through the throne room door. That had been the first to fall and followed by a charge from the Traditionalists. However, the numerous barricades of tables and furniture that had been stacked to form several lines had checked the enemy’s advance.
So a vicious melee had developed at the entrance, with both sides firing guns and spells over the tops of each other’s heads. Janize was no military tactician, but she knew that if Darius’s soldiers gained the galleries, they were in deep trouble. They were also losing those galleries.
Elizabeth arched an eyebrow at Leila. They were now in the castle proper which was unsurprisingly deserted. The non-combatants having fled or hid. “Leila, where are we going. The throne room’s front door is not this way.”
“Yes, but unless you want to get completely fucked by the mass of troops probably fighting there, we’re going to have to break in to help them—” Leila stopped so quickly, Elizabeth nearly dragged her forward.
A column of soldiers were spilling out from one of the corridors into the hall. Their boots were caked in indescribable brown stuff and from this distance, Leila and Elizabeth could smell where they had come from.
At the head of the group of soldiers was a blonde woman with a cat mask. Thier were both Alavari and human and they all had light-blue armbands or hauberks emblazoned with a silver lightning symbol.
“Jessica?” Leila whispered.
“Leila, it’s been a long time.” The masked Otherworlder’s reply was cool. Elizabeth did notice a tremor in her voice.
“Jess, I’m so sorry. I was an idiot and I—”
Tearing off her mask, Jessica took several long steps to Leila and seized her in an embrace. “I missed you.”
Leila couldn’t help but cry. “I missed you too—OW!”
Jessica had flicked Leila’s forehead with a finger. Smiling, crying and scowling at the same time. “Also, fuck you for trying to blast me, several times.”
“Sorry,” Leila croaked.
Jessica gently stroked Leila’s hair. “And I’m sorry for calling you a monster.”
Leila managed a watery giggle. “I deserved it.”
The pair laughed and let go of one another. “Right, which way to save your queen? Also, you alright? You look like a wreck,” said Jessica.
“This way.” Leila said, leaning on Jessica’s shoulder for support. “Oh wow you really did crawl through a sewer.”
“Eat shit, or did you already?”
Jessica snorted. “Fuck you.”
“Glad to see you getting along, but how are we going to make sure we take down a barricade without getting shot at?” Elizabeth asked.
“You’ll see!” warbled Leila.
After dispatching a band of Traditionalist soldiers, they’d come to a doorway that looked fairly ordinary but as Leila laid her hands on the wall it shimmered. “Yo, George! Don’t shoot! Reinforcements are here!”
A slot in the door opened up and there was quick peek. From the other side they heard a great sigh of relief.
“Thank God, get in here.” Their was some scrabbling and the door swung open to reveal the blonde-haired Otherworlder warrior. “They’re making another push. Good thing you remembered the designated escape hatch.”
“Ah, you left an emergency exit, a sally port. Good idea,” said Elizabeth. “Musketeers to the galleries and check your powder before you start shoting. Jessica, Leila, get to the queen. I want a section to guard the sally.”
There was a thunderous bellow from the outside of the throne room. Then another louder one.
“They’re hyping themselves up. This is it!” George bellowed. “Leila get to the queen!”
“Holdup.” Jessica picked Leila up and leapt off the railing. Her friend screamed as they dropped down, only slowing at the last minute due to Jessica’s spell.
George stared at the pair for a moment, but Elizabeth had grabbed onto him and was dragging him. “Let’s get to the front, hurry!”
Janize peaked behind her throne. “Leila!”
The queen was soon embraced by the shaking Otherworlder. “I’m sorry. This is um, Jessica.”
“A pleasure I’m sure, but we are in a dicey spot.” Jessica ushered the pair behind the throne and began casting. Leila soon joining her.
A flood of armored knights had forced the throne room’s entrance. The sheer mass of the column was overwhelming the defenders at the entrance. Leila could see George and Elizabeth fighting furiously back to back against the tide. Elizabeth’s war hammer taking out a knight with every swing, whilst George’s spear flickered into weakspots and gaps in enemy armor like a snake. Far above on the right gallery, the Lightning Battalion’s musketeers were raining musket and magefire down on them.
Yet Darius’s troops were forcing themselves up the staircase to the left side gallery, which didn’t have the additional Lightning Battalion troops.
“Jess! Left side!” Leila hissed.
“I know, shit!” The pair turned their attention to the gallery on the left, unleashing fireballs and bolts of magic. That kept any attackers and musketeers who wanted to shoot back pinned down, but they had a mage on the left gallery that kept shielding their attacks.
It also meant the flood of attackers pouring through the throne room doors only increased.
“Elizabeth where the fuck are your troops!” Leila screamed.
Ayax knew she wasn’t going through the front door, but after running around the throne room’s upper galleries she was wondering if there was any other way in.
As she hammered on a final door, a familiar human face peeked through the slot.
“Helen, good to see you!”
“Get in here and duck!” Ayax’s adjutant opened the door and lead the troll into the throne room. She instantly could see that things were not going well. Musketeers filled the gallery opposing them they were ducking behind a black-haired mage’s shield due to Leila and Jessica shooting at them. However, that meant Jessica and Leila weren’t casting at the knights charging through the throne room.
Ayax could glimpsed Elizabeth locked in a duel with another knight that she dispatched, another Otherworlder protecting her flanks. The pair were pulling back, though and the Lightning Battalion soldiers trying to come down the gallery stairs were forced to come in single line
And Traditionalist forces kept pushing. No matter how many were shot dead, the armored men and women were storming forward, stepping over the bodies of dead comrades with a desperate, furious pace. At the centre of the column was a man surrounded by the biggest and burliest knights Ayax had ever seen and with gold-trimmed armour.
It was Darius and he was in her sight. Ayax blinked, started forward and shook her head. He wasn’t the priority. He couldn’t be the priority. She could see black magic leaking out from her hand, but she forcefully kept her gaze on the gallery.
Taking a deep breath Ayax bellowed, “Clear the way!” Running forward, Words of Power pouring from her lips, she leapt over the railing.
Elizabeth was very nearly distracted by a glimpse of her girlfriend doing a superhero impression as she flew across the top of the Throne Room, carried by her magic. Ayax, her staff punched forward like a spear, slammed into the first musketeer she saw. The Traditonalists ran, trying to make space but that also gave space for Ayax to run after the panicked looking black haired mage.
Whirling her staff around, she slammed him so hard he crashed into the wall with a sickening thud. Then she was hitting the musketeers, sending them flying with her strikes. Even so, musket balls screeched by her, nearly missing her. More musketeers were pointing their weapons at her.
A massive fireball slammed into the railing, setting enemy uniforms aflame. Ayax glanced over the railing to see Leila give her a brief wave before turning back to keep firing at Earl Darisus’s guards. The troll blinked, but there was no time to contemplate, she had to keep fighting. Leaping forward, she sent another human soldier flying. Torquing around, she ducked under a bayonet stab and punted a human woman into a wall.
When she turned around to look for another opponent, Ayax froze. The remaining musketeers were fleeing, retrating down the gallery stairs and away from her. However, there was a blonde haired woman on the gallery with a fox-fur lined coat. She was aiming a musket, but not at Ayax. Instead, she was pointing it toward the dais of the throne.
Ayax’s eyes immediately took in the trajectory of the musket and the scowling dark-haired Otherworlder she was pointing it at. Leila, while taking cover from the bullets and bolts of magic from the main entrance’s direction, was exposed to the woman’s shot.
I could let her. It wouldn’t be me. It’d be an accident. Janize can’t blame us for a battle. We’d still have her surrender.
Besides, Leila doesn’t deserve to live. Why should she live after all the wrongs she’s committed? Why shouldn’t I just let her die.
Nobody would know. Few would care.
Ayax glanced down at her hands and at her staff. There was no black magic pooling around her. It was just her. Her decision to save or let die, the woman who killed her mother.
This was a woman who’d apologized and promised to let her do whatever she wanted to her. Who sought not her own safety but to protect the life and the child of the one she loved.
Ayax bit her lip and charged the enemy musketeer. However, her hesitation had cost her. She could see the musketeer pulling the trigger. There was no time for a Word of Power. Ayax slammed into her the musketeer. The weapon cracked, the bullet whizzing off course as Ayax pushed the woman over the railing.
But the screaming woman now grabbed onto Ayax and the troll found herself tumbling over.
Acting on instinct, the troll seized her enemy with both hands, her cat-like tail twisting to try to direct their momentum. The pair fell down, but Ayax was managing to get her legs atop the woman. Acting more on instinct, Ayax leapt off the musketeer, slammed into a Traditionalist knight and rolled clumsily over the ground.
Dazed by the impact, her sides and wrists screaming with pain, Ayax could just hear a stomach-churning thud. She chanced a glance and immediately looked away. The woman was very clearly dead, having hint the stone floor headfirst.
It was then she saw that standing over her was the heavily armoured Earl Darius halted dead in his tracks. He lifed his visor, and Ayax could see that despite the sweat that trickled down his face, his eyes remained wide with horror and rage.
“You killed her. You killed my daughter!” Roaring like a wounded animal, Darius swung down at Ayax with his sword. She managed to get her staff up, the metal chomping into the wood. Again and again the Earl brought his weapon down. Aching, exhausted and far far too close for comfort, Ayax scrabbled back, trying to escape. But the earl was possessed with grief and fury and the desperation of a cornered animal.
“Die! Die! Die and join your father and mother!”
Author’s Note: Oh dear, so Ayax has gotten over her anger, but… she pissed off Darius anyway!
submitted by vren55 to redditserials [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 06:57 KingAsi4n My current issue with enemy design, specifically in spiral abyss, from someone who used to clear it 5-10 times a day. Why does this abyss feel so bad?

Just for context, I'm somewhat of a whale in this game; I have a few constellations on most of my 5 star characters, with all of their signature weapons. I also have one C6, which is Ganyu. I've only ever used a combination of 12 characters to clear every abyss to date, so all my characters are hyper-invested (230-260 CV from just artifacts on all dps characters). I also have a F2P account where I play random stuff like dps Barbara as a hyperbloom driver, but I was actually unable to clear floor 12 on that account this cycle on that account.
I've seen a lot of posts lately complaining about spiral abyss, and as someone who actually really enjoys just doing spiral abyss runs, I'm finding myself agreeing with them. Before 3.5's abyss, I was regularly clearing the abyss 5-10 times a day just because it was fun for me; it basically felt like a boss rush, and I enjoyed finding how fast I could clear chambers, or how weird of a comp I could run (one of my favorite comps was running a Yelan/Barbara/Amber team, Amber's burst can instantly apply pyro to any enemy allowing Yelan to vape her skill). But ever since 3.5, I've only been running abyss a few times per cycle, and this cycle I've literally only run it like 5 times total, because I don't find it fun anymore due to the enemy design. I've thought about why, and I've basically boiled it down to 3 issues with enemy design.
  1. Chambers are starting to add too many enemies that shouldn't exist together. I used to enjoy running teams without healers or shielders, but that basically feels impossible to do now. Good example is this abyss cycle's 12-1-2, two cryo heralds and a hydro herald is a recipe for disaster. Genshin is somewhat i-frame dodge focused game, but the dash CD + less i-frames means that you cannot dodge every single attack unlike in a game like souls, especially when you have 3 enemies just spinning at you. 12-1-2 has a lot of cases where not getting hit is nigh impossible, causing you to be frozen. I have a well built Ganyu +XL + Bennett, so honestly I had no problems with this floor on my main cause it didn't even matter if I got hit, XL and Ganyu burst are still going, but doing this floor on my F2P account gave me a migraine.
  2. Enemies move way to much considering how slow Genshin is. Most 5 star character's elemental burst take 2 seconds to just cast, and they've added enemies where by the time you're done casting, the enemy has actually just moved halfway across the map. The hydro + dendro consecrated beast is the biggest offender of this, you'll cast a burst and they'll just push you back and roll right past you. I actually had no problems with the electro and pyro consecrated beasts, since their moves caused them to jump on top of you, which is fine IMO since you can just dodge it and retaliate. The new consecrated beasts on the other hand are terrible; you can either tank the hit and take a ton of damage so that you can damage them back, or you dodge the hit and they roll 3 miles behind you.
  3. Element checks. Genshin is a game based on the elemental reactions your characters can do with each other. I'm of the opinion that you should be able to use any team comp you like in Spiral Abyss. As such, I dislike enemies that just ignore this and make you play rock paper scissors instead with what element is good against them. I've never liked cube floors/ thundering manifestation/abyss herald floors despite how easy they are with the right element, and now the Baptist has become my most disliked boss. Baptist just straight up forces you to bring a counter for each of the three shields he has, and as long as you do so, the boss is insanely easy. He's literally just downed the entire fight. While I disliked previous element checks, they usually only required one team slot to break the shield, or discouraged you from bringing one element depending on what the boss is immune to. Requiring 3 team slots severely limits team flexibility, and thus a lot of the fun when it comes to making spiral abyss teams.
This is just my 2 cents from the perspective of someone who used to be addicted to running Spiral Abyss. I really hope they change how they design enemies going into the future, as these new enemies just really aren't it.
submitted by KingAsi4n to Genshin_Impact [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 05:59 Affectionate-Tart-58 I died and came back to life on a shroom trip

To give some background I'm a male 20.
I tried magic mushrooms for the first time with some friends back in December, I live in the north so as an activity we put on some snow suits and went for a midnight stroll to say the experience was life-changing is an understatement. I learned new things about myself, my porn addiction was finally under control, and I was more focused and devoted than ever before in all aspects of my life. I can proudly say the experience changed my life.
In the month of March after talking with a friend he recommended I try some blue meanies, After some deliberation I decided to purchase 14g of the potent psychedelic. When exams finally finished I planned a day, in May, with my boys where we would all trip next to a river. My friends coined me the mush gobblin' so of course I couldn't let them down and said "Yolo" and stuffed what seemed like 4g of the stuff down my gorge and waited. well to my surprise these mushies were WAY stronger than the penis envy strain I had months prior. I had the second most intense experience of my life, I lost perception of time, at some point I kept repeating GeNeralllaerr KeNOObbie for what seemed like 2 hours to mess with my trip sitter, finally, I remember at some point seeing hexagons in the sky and clouds shaped like Poseidon and his mermaids as they stabbed at me with their tridents. There were many more visuals and I had many insightful powerful moments that again set me on the right track. Though once I got home it seemed as though all my bad habits stayed and nothing about myself had changed.
However, a few days ago again with my gang and a few others that don't mush out, all went to a friend's cottage and one of my close tripping buddies suggested we have some more of the blue meanies. At this point, it had been about three weeks since the last trip and I seemed to have set my life a little back on track by going to the gym more regularly, eating properly, doing my homework and assignments on time (I'm taking a summer class), and not masturbating so often (i lost a little control of that as well...). It seemed to make sense that I take some more mush but just a little. I had read about lemon tekking and decided to try it. The trip started out great, my trip sitter and I went on an adventure up a mountain and talked about philosophy, the meaning of god, our attitudes and action, morals, and consciousness. Here, however, is when the trip took a turn for the worst as some people weren't high it put me off a little, and without realizing I finished a mushy tea I had brewed with the remaining mushrooms. We had around 3-4 grams. After doing this I exclaimed "noooooo not again whyyyy god meeee". My friends thought it was hilarious and so did I. But instead of embracing the crazy experience I was about to have I began to panic a little so I ran off I began to have very negative thoughts in what seemed like the beginnings of a bad trip. I managed to calm myself and I sat with a friend on a log at a beautiful lookout point with a large lake and farm ahead of me. The visuals started and the world, began to melt, incircle, breath, and pulse as the intensity rose it seems that the panic within me also rose, thoughts of death and the bad things in my life filled my mind. Finally, after a time I began walking back, at that point I had convinced myself I was dying because god showed me purpose and meaning yet I couldn't comprehend it with my feeble human brain, I also felt as though I was seeing myself in the third person but I knew I wasn't. Once I got back to the cottage I grabbed water and went to bed. Yet, I couldn't shake the feeling that something was off as the visuals kept floating around me they were beautiful but I feel that since I had tripped so hard so recently my mind hadn't had time to prepare and excite itself for the next hero's trip. So I called out to my trip sitter who was also shonked to calm me which he did. However, here is the interesting part I remember being moved to a different bed but once there I could no longer understand anything all things I knew were things but they held no meaning. A lamp was no longer a lamp, my friends weren't my friends anymore they were just things. I died and came back to life. The dissolution of the self. I felt like a newborn baby, connections within my mind were dissolved so I had to relearn everything, I had to learn my name and who the people around me were. The experience has left me in awe. Some would consider it a bad trip but I don't. I see it as a purely magical, mystical, enthralling experience, I cried. I think there are many reasons I panicked though the main reason is that I think what I experienced was ego death. For a man who works out 5 times a week, I have a fairly large ego so for it to dissolve in front of me might have set me off. Currently, I never felt so in touch with my senses.
Please share your input, if you've had similar experiences, should i continue my gremlin ways, will taking mush like that again haywire my brain, I have too many questions that need answering.
it felt like a waking dream
submitted by Affectionate-Tart-58 to shrooms [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 04:03 Nomyad777 [PI] The Monster Kingdom (1/2)

Part 2
If you travel far enough North on the map, well above where the Civilized Nations stop because no crops grow, you'll find a mountain range. Crossing this range leads to the Monster Kingdom, though for some reason they prefer the name 'TFSU.' Yes, they prefer. The literal forces of anarchy and chaos in the universe have a government. However, ignoring that whole thing, the Monster Kingdom is fine. No armies march on them, mostly because of supply and logistical issues. The Monsters never say how they grow their own food, but given that they don't trade and millions of kobolds worth of food don't go missing every day, it's safe to say they make their own. Now, that doesn't stop the Civilized Nations to send one hero a decade to 'keep them in check.' Four decades ago, the hero closed off a mountain pass, which was supposed to cause a massive flood. Four days later, it was cleared, and the only thing to show for it were the cities that glow like the sun at night. However, yesterday, the Hero returned having burnt one of the bigger cities down. It was empty of all monsters, but the act was the first real damage they had taken in seven hundred years, since their founding. For seven hundred years, the TFSU have taken the beating of seventy heroes and simply moved on. But now. Now, millions of kobolds make up heavy 'machinery' units that march in armored, self-moving caridges that spit fire and metal. Thousands of beastpeople make up scouting and light infantry ranks. The TFSU use hellish 'guns' that hit harder than a catapult from kilometers away, all in a single 'bullet' not the size of a human's thumb. Metal birds and dragonflies join dragons as they assault cities. We poke the very literal sleeping dragon in the eye. Yet the armies don't do much. They march for our capitals and leaders, but on the way our civilians live. Surendees live. People go about their daily lives without too much change. Of course, that fact didn't stop the front line from finally crashing over my small village, located so close to the pass for a while we thought they the monsters had bypassed us entirely. The Civilized Nations had decided to send an entire legion to prevent the Monsters from getting across a nearby canyon pass. We were hit with an air-based assault with only dragons and metal dragonflies, our balista uselessly demolished by pillars of metal and flame thrown out of the metal dragonflies. I blacked out when the legion managed to shoot enough arrows to take down one of the dragonflies. I remember it crashing down onto my house... and then nothing.
The elf stirred as they woke up. I'd been raised in the Terra Firma Sapience Union, so I was... less than familiar with the clothing and lifestyle the Southerners used. The elf groaned again, before their eyes shot open and they looked around, quickly settling on my frame. "A-Are you going to kill me now?" They asked, their voice shaken with fear. I let out a laugh. "If I wanted you dead, you'd already be dead." I decided to transmorph into my secondary form - a cat - to help the conversation go better. In a land where humans lived to forty, elves only lived to a hundred, and that meant that even I was older than this elf, and they were no older than thirty. The elf, to their credit, quickly figured out I wasn't pulling any mindgames. I'd heard tales from my relatives before the Kobolds founded the TFSU. People, especially when panicked, usual acted with more than enough stupidity to make the situation worse. "Where am I?" The elf asked. Their tone told me that they were still suspicious, but it wasn't outright denial of the situation. "My home," I answered bluntly. "Your village tried to fight our ground forces when they moved in, so most of them are currently under house arrest." Still in my cat form, I created a portal into my storage cavern and reached my arm through, while summoning a lab coat around my shoulders and glasses. It was a trick I had only learned to do recently. "Let's see..." I found the clipboard and brought it out, flipping to the elft's page and taping the pen against the paper. "You suffered a collapsed lung, severe burns on the right side of your body, three broken ribs and two fractured ones, shattered three wrist bones, three breaks in your right upper arm and another two in your lower arm, and on the left side you have another fractured rib and three broken fingers. Your left leg was shattered and your left foot was completely torn up. Healing magic stabilized you and surgery did the rest. You've been comatose for the past three days, and was brought to my home yesterday due to a surge in hospital patients from the seige of Trembolorne. "In terms of organ damage, that was also severe. A busted kidney, I already mentioned a collapsed lung, and your entire digestive system was... well, pulverized would be putting it lightly. Also, unrelated to the incident with the helicopter, you had cancer in your liver and kidney. "In terms of medical treatment, you've been given an IV line for the past couple days and several painkillers, and you underwent four separate surgeries. We reconstructed your organs, welded your bones to metal plates, and used a genetic printer to replace your skin. You're lucky to have gotten time with the genetic printer in the first place, you know; those things are expensive, and I mean expensive to run. Though it's all billed on the government anyway, but that just means that they'll only run it if they have to." The elf sat up in bed looking at me as I just stood on two paws on the cave floor. "Right, sorry, you wouldn't understand most of that." I sheepishly scratched the back of my head with my right paw. "Um... put this way, you were crushed by debris and we basically reconstructed your body before you died. So not necromancy, though you did get close to needing more advanced magical treatment." "Oh," The elf replied. The cat thing seemed to have helped, because they were no longer stuttering with their single word response. "Um... do you want anything to drink?" I tried to kickstart a conversation. "Where am I?" The elf asked again. I was silent for a second. "My home? It's right on the edge of TFSU territory, one of the southernmost places you can be while still being with the recognized borders. I chose this place because I like to fly out in the summer over the flowers in the forest at the foot of the mountains. Your village is a couple hour dragon-flight time away." "Mmmhm." The elf commented halfheartedly. "OK, um... who are you?" "My dragonic name isn't something most can pronounce, so my public name is just Vixie Remminie." I answered. "What's yours?"
The elf's eyes narrowed. "Why do you want to know my name." I blinked. "Because... It's a name? I'm not a Fey, you know, it's not like I can tie ancient demons to your soul and call it a prank or something ridiculous like that. Besides, you asked for mine; now I get to ask for yours." "And who says you won't just burn my village to the ground and eat me right now!?!" The elf suddenly burst out. "You monsters ruin everything! You trespass on our land, take our resources, and kill our people! All we did was try to defend ourselv-" I cut him off, and poured just a bit of attention in giving myself an aura. Blue fire licked the bottom of my vision as I rebuttaled his point. "Don't forget, you stole the land from us. We were the ones living in the wild when you razed our forests and grew crops. We couldn't even purchase land to live on! So yes, we stole what we could to survive and those who didn't starved and died! And when all was said and done, you tried to kill us and turned it into a war, one where we had no choice but to kill you back. And when we found someplace to run, a spot to hide and do our own thing with our own land? You blistering idiots sent you 'courageous heroes' to try and kill us! What for? Nothing! Just your stupid, moronic fear making, forcing you to decide to 'kill the big thing over there!' We can't even have freaking farmland, we have to grow it all in hydroponic farms and harvest thousand-year-old vines out of caves because this is all we have!" I realized that my aura was burning fully and scorching the ground around me. I let out a long sigh, and it died down. Several memories flashed through my head, but I pushed them away. "Apologies, my parents are still a... sensitive topic for me. It would be best if we just stayed away from talking about the war until the hospital has room for more patients again." "Yeah?" The elf was still enraged. Even sitting down, they were still trying to construct an argument. "You parents who killed how many? Your family killed how many more? You dragons, you monsters are nothing more than one large grouping of murders that deserve to die! As the gods will!" The elf was spitting in rage, but I recognized his determination to hold onto his worldview. It was the one thing I needed to pry away before it got out of hand. "And you elves killed how many more?" I asked in a low voice. "Can you tell me the number of kobold dens exterminated in caves, the number of beastpeople sent to an early grave in slave camps? Because I can tell you ours. My father's was two, my mother's four, and my extended family including deceased relatives is one hundred and thirty seven. "You declared war against monsters, you child of an elf," I growled. "And death the reality of war. We know. The Unification Wars weren't fought with swords and honor. They were fought with artillery barrages and death. They were fought with miniature suns and political backstabbing, with tanks and guns and submarines and warships and all the more death. "You say the gods don't like us! That's put lightly. They forsook us! Abandoned us in our hour of need. So we learned to live without them. There are no gods we pray to anymore, elfling. Only each other, our creations, and the universe itself. They don't want us, we don't need them. It's more than they deserve." My aura was once again charring the floor and I had transformed back into my dragon form, but this time I refused to cool it down. "You call us creations of death, the primal forces of anarchy? We are you. You are us. We are sapient, we are all mortals, no matter our advantages. We are bound to this dimensional plane, forced to serve our betters, and live out our lives not with earnest but with trepredition for when it ends. We are all death incarnate, because we can all die. That is just the way it is. Besides, you've wondered about my kill count; tell me, can you tell me the gods'? Can you tell me how many souls they have cut from fate for their own entertainment? No? I can tell you." I growled, moving closer until the blue flames enveloping my body threatened to light the elf's cot on fire. "More people than are alive on this planet right now." I pulled back, bottling up my aura and reverting to my cat form. "We can talk all we want about death and destruction, and I won't lie and say you aren't victims of the war; pre-unification dragons we're exactly kind and merciful to those with treasure hoards. But perhaps, I implore you to consider that maybe we both are victims of the war, and maybe we can one day work together instead of fighting each other. "Maybe, one day, we can fight for our rights against the gods." I moved into my dragon form and darted deeper into my cave, moving so fast I could hear the howl of the wind against my ears. Only when I had reached my memorial wall for my parents did I stop and take a breath and think over my conversation with the elf. We had a long way to go, but I hoped I had put a little bit of sense into him. I hoped that the world could change.
When the dragon cat thing sped away, I took a moment to survey my surroundings. Only now did the effects of my first question hit my formerly-groggy head. "My home." He said. Dragons live in caves. Oooooh. I'm screwed. However, there were no treasure hoards visible from my perspective; then again, while the Monsters were stupid, they still had brains to them, and carrying me into a treasure room would probably be something they'd be able to tell was a bad idea. Pops said never underestimate you foe, A voice in the back of my head said, and the dragon even launched in a full conversation with you. You're selling the dragon very, very shor- Shut up I growled internally to the treacherous voice in my head. The cave itself was... a cave. There was a metal slab on one end, it went deeper in the other, and that was that. In a 'corner' of the jagged room there were a number of red, glowing rods attached to some kind of giant mechanism three elfs wide and six deep, but the rods glowed against the cave's light- What light source? My eyes darted around looking for one. Only now was I aware of how unnatural each shadow was, how awkward each shining rock looked, how each stalagmite could hide an entire dragon, and that was before they started transfiguring into cats. How bright the ceiling- I looked up. The bright light burned my eyes, but I needed to know what fiendish magic was in play so I could counter it. But the light didn't flicker like fire - they were far too bright for that anyway - but they also didn't have the magical circles surrounding each spell. They were... lights. As if the universe simply willed brightness into existence. Each far-too-bright-hurts-to-look-ats was placed along a main hallway clear of stalagmites running from the metal slab deeper and around a corner where I couldn't see. The lights were only poised above this one hall, and they just... shone one the rest of the cave. Looking closer, I could see thin black lines, too thin to be mana feeds, running along the walls to both the glowing red rods and to the so-shiny-the-lit-up-the-cave. And... that was that. There was no massive pile of treasure in the hall, though I suspected the dragon kept their hoard deeper than... wherever I was. There was no pile of skull trophies or the banner of cities and armies slain, and I noted that while he had told me his parents', the dragon had never told me his own. Then again, the cat thing could be lying. Dragon transfigured into a cat. Probably has Circle Of Truth around his entire den. Nonsense, dragons can only do elemental magic. Evidently not. Would you just shut up already? No- I moved my attention back to the metal slab, cutting off whatever the voice in my head had to say about my current situation; it wasn't every day one just got kidnapped by a nation of monsters, after all. The slab was truly elegant. It was painted with the monster language, and then was painted with some kind of mural. I could barely make out a blue circle with green splotches on it surrounded by twelve rings in the bottom corner because most of the door was taken up by a ice-blue cat with lighter strips engulfed in blue fire. It was a mural of the dragon cat thing. That didn't stop it from being pretty, and someone had obviously put a lot of effort into it. The flames looked realistic from what I had seen minutes ago, and the cat's details were perfectly engraved. It was... acurrate. Yeah, because I think Vixie was just trying to tell you that they built their civilization for a reason, and it wasn't carnage. You don't know what you're talking about. We both know I do. How else to you think- Listen to me, you treasonous voice of a- No, you listen to me, you pathetic excuse for a brain. The dragon was able to hold and win an argument with you, fixed your wounds that would've been a dead write-off for any other hospital, and then you think SHE barely meets the threshold for sapient? THE ABSOLUTE MORON I'M ARGUING WITH IS THE ONE YOU BARELY MEETS IT!!! You moved to your frontier village because the world was changing, Lazerot the Sixth. Congrats, you were right. It did change. Now shut your OVERSIZED EGO up at being bested by a creature ten times older than you, and go appologies before they decide that saving your life wasn't worth it. I... I... OK- No. I'm in control now. Shut up. I....... yes, sir. Good. With new resolve, I stood up. My head throbbed, and the next thing I knew was my face hitting my cot again.
When I heard the thud of something falling in the entrance cave, I carefully moved back into the entrance cave. The elf was face-down in their cot, unconscious again. It looked like they had tried to stand and just.... fallen over. I sighed and used a claw to nudge the elf back onto his pillow, and then covered him with a blanket. I watched him for a minute, and then returned to the deeper parts of my home. The TFSU was completely overloaded with the number of patients needing treatment. Apparently, the Southener's hospitals just... didn't do anything, so in addition to soldiers, there was a massive influx of civilians to our hospitals too. Of course, this meant that they were absolutely overloaded, and the Civilized Nations strategy of fighting to near-death and then surrendering wasn't helping. So, stable recovering civilians like the elf were just... shipped out. When shelters filled up because the Civilized Nations overpopulation crisis was too bad to do anything, people just had to take them into their homes. Long story short, the government was in way over their head attempting upgrade the standard of care in the Civilized Nations while occupying their territory. My job so close to the border was remote infrastructure maintenance, and my ability to change size while not dissolving made me an expert at it - and that was before my two hundred years of experience. And then I didn't need a vehicle to get on-site, and was fast. The alarm pinging me that one of the space radars was down again gave me an excuse to avoid the elf and do some work. I grabbed a pack of supplies, put on my shapeshift-compatible uniform, and wrote down a note on a piece of paper. On my out past the sleeping elf, I dropped it for him.
Space radar system needs repair, as it's returning a false positive. It's my job to repair all the infrastructure around here, so I need to go fix it. I'll be back soon. If you're hungry, my pantry is the first cave on the right. You can just eat anything that's easily open-able in there. If it has a lock or airtight opening mechanism (anything more than a clip, really) then don't eat it. If your thirsty, there's a stream in the entrance cave near the heaters. When the door mechanism beeps, step back. Sometimes pressure in the cave can get a bit wonky, and I don't want you to get hurt. Other than that, feel free to explore. I've locked all the doors to the rooms I don't want you to enter. For toilet necessities, the second cave on the left has a properly-sized toilet. And running water, but stuff I can explain later means don't drink it. See you soon! - Vixie.
Satisfied, I left opened the door. There was a puff as the air from inside flowed out to the lower-pressure atmosphere. I could spot a snow squall to the north, and the pressure meant that it was probably coming my way. I moved out onto the ledge and closed the door behind me. At high altitudes this far north, the air was already near-zero and it was still five in the afternoon. I took just a second to confirm with the weather report that the snowstorm was in fact going to arrive on my doorledge using a smartwatch I had strapped around my wrist. When I found that the storm was coming, I opened my wings and flew. Being an Ice Dragon had its advantages, but being a Water-Ice Combined Dragon was much better. The frosty air curled around my wings as the freedom of ignoring gravity filled my brain. Ice and Water dragons both had large wings to deal with the cold air (and lower pressure leading to the requirement for more surface area to achieve the same amount of lift) and incompressable water physics (to let the wings act like a one-way fan blade as they move back and forth, increasing efficient). Dragons might be magestic creatures, but we were still bound to the physics of the mortal plane, after all. Being part of both, my wings were even bigger, making me one of the best high-altitude fliers on the planet. The ability to use both gills and lungs at said altitudes helped with oxygen also helped. Air Dragons were better at flying in normal air, but I liked to think of it like stats from a video game. Air Dragons min-maxed their stats for low-altitude, but I could go anywhere - even underwater - can keep my speed relatively high. I took full advantage of this on my way to the space radar, soaring well above the cloud ceiling and to the point where I could make out the curvature of the planet below me. The ocean spread out to my west, while more land was to my east. Snow covered the north as to the south was the telltale splotchy color of industrialism. My smartwatch beeped, as I crossed the normal altitude limit. I hadn't realized I'd gone so high; I had a radar to repair, after all. I dove down towards the surface, ignoring more beeps as I crossed half the way to the speed of sound. The wind howled angrily in my ears, but I flattened those (thank you, streamlined water genetics) and came out of my death dive right over the radar. The repair itself went relativity smoothly, though I couldn't find a broken component and chalked it up to more space anomalies. They weren't infrequent, and usually marked where the gods decided to look over the planet. For my radars, anyway. Further north, ignoring the north pole, almost no gods came out and wanted to deal with us. Our unspoken agreement was held that way. I flew straight back for my return journey. The storm was definitely closer, but fifteen minutes of flying later and I was entering the opening mechanism for my door. As it swung inwards, I heard the high-pitched scream of an elf.
When I awoke, I found myself tucked into some covers. It took all of seven seconds for reality to catch up with me. Right. I got into a heated argument with a dragon. I instinctively touched the part of my face that had been closest to the dragon's flame. I'd read about Auras in books, but never thought I'd get to see one. They were only ever found in the most powerful and competent individuals of a race in an entire plan of existence. I wondered which skill gave the dragon hers - Vixie, I reminded myself. Either way, given that Auras are technically illusions, I wasn't hurt. The flames didn't get close enough to hurt anyway, but that didn't stop me from checking. This time, I was much more careful when I stood up. I sat up first, then started to kick my legs back and forth. That's when I spotted a paper on the other side of my cot. I stood up without thinking, but managed to keep my consciousness this time and moved towards the note. It was handwritten and contained a lot of jargon that I wasn't familiar with. Space. Radar. False positive. Airtight opening mechanism. Heater. Beep. Pressure. Toilet. Running water. I could deduce some of it. A message had come in requesting the services of the local dragon to repair a thing that has an issue, and that she would return shortly. I could wander around as I pleased, besides eating food that wasn't open or contained in a clip bag. From the tone of the message, I could deduce what a 'toilet' was. The heaters would logically be things that produced heat, so all I had to do was look for those. I wasn't able to tell time, but I supposed at this point it didn't matter. I moved over deeper into the cave, and quickly heard the sound of a stream. It led directly into a forest of stalagmites. After clambering over those, the temperature started to increase, which was all I needed to know that I was getting a drink of water. I was only now catching up to the fact that I had been out for three days, and that meant that I was extremely thirsty. I wasn't sure how I wasn't dead of dehydration at this point. I found the stream next to the glowing metal rods, and with it a clear path to my location. Sighing slightly at the wasted effort on climbing through Rock Forest, I snatched an undersized cup off a rack built into a nearby jut in the cave wall and filled it, before entering the bliss of fresh water. Back in the village, we had some of the best and cleanest water in all the land thanks to snow melt, but this took that to a new level. Cold, crisp water melted in the sun only minutes ago. It was... pure. I spent the next couple minutes simply drinking and processing everything over in my mind. The gods might have willed the monster dead, but if even the monster gods had abandoned them and survived... then how come the Pantheon never told us? Religious issues aside, there were more practical issues regarding my own survival. How did I get out. There was a thud at the metal slab, and I moved back towards it, leaving my cup to dry on the rack I pulled it from. The engraving of the cat on the metal slab was- BEEEP! What was that sound? There was a hiss, and the slab started to peel away. A gust of frigid cold air washed over me as a mage Ice-Water hybrid Aura-capable dragon that I had argued with stared me down. I did the instinctive thing and let out the scream of a human three year old, squeezing my eyes shut and waiting for the final blow. When the end of my life didn't arrive, I reopened my eyes to find the sky-blue cat standing in the hole where the metal slab was supposed to be. Then there was another... sound, and the metal slab started to move back into position. The cat was surprised for a single moment before simply charging the door and jumping through, skidding to a halt right in front of me. Which meant that I got a closer look at her. Ocean-blue strips crossed an ice-blue body fur in a fifty-fifty ratio. Small crystals of ice twinkled, floating here her wings would be. One tail was accompanied by two more made of pure blue-white energy, and the cat even had a halo. Six orbs of blue-white light hovered in lazy circles around her back, and even in a diminutive form the size of a cat the being radiated the power of an aura-capable creature. "Oh, right, sorry," Vixie said, and all the ethirial energy disappeared. Now that I knew what I was looking for, however, I could just barely tell, using my power as a mage, that Vixie was using illusion magic to hide her true energy. "You don't need to hide your reserves," I said. "Though if you're shapeshifting into forms so small that you need to expose yours, then you should just burn yours instead. It's not worth the trouble of people bottling yours." Vixie gave some kind of half-shrug. "They're not reserves, no." She said, emphasizing the word. I looked at Vixie with a sharp look, and for a second I forgot I was talking to a dragon. "Then what are they?" "They're..." The cat blushed, something I wasn't even aware was possible. She let the illusion fall away, and the tails, crystals, orbs and halo returned. "They're my regenerative baseline minimum." I looked her up and down for a second, dumbstruck. She really is a creature of power, huh? "Um.... uh..." I stuttered. "Is... that where you get your aura from?" I asked. Vixie closed her eyes with an expression on her face, and this time green flame started to peel off her. "Part of it, yeah." To control an aura like that... two auras. Just how powerful is she? I was so deep in thought that I didn't realize that the expression on her face was pain. "I... uh... what happened?" I asked, shellshocked. "Why aren't you fighting in the war?" The worldwide-powerful dragon masquerading as a cat sighed. "I... haven't told anyone. It's... personal." "I..." Only now did it hit me that I was talking with a dragon, not another person. Not just a monster, but a... creature with emotions. "You don't have to tell me." I quickly backtracked. "No, no, it's a fair question. It..." The cat let out a chuckle, and it filled the cave with a beautiful sound. "I suppose it's kind of ironic... but it starts with a kobold and a god, back when the Firma kobold tribe decided to travel north to escape the civilized nations, shortly before the amassing of all creatures in these same northern mountains and the Unification War. "Back before the gods forsook us."
Original Prompt: [WP] For as long as all the races have known, Dragons have been seen as violent, destructive creatures. After an attack on your village, you black out and find yourself in the den of a dragon. It's rather annoyed that that is how they're seen, and wants to prove that isn't the case.
u/Lycan_Jedi thank you for the prompt!
Part 2
submitted by Nomyad777 to WritingPrompts [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 03:55 carlosblue_14 The Amalgam: Chapter 4(Part 1)

N was flying while carrying Uzi and Doll with him follow V in the distance.

N: V, wait for us.

She didn't seem to pay attention to them and kept moving forward.

Uzi: What the hell is wrong with you 2? When my dad said that Thad was heading to the dead body area, you guys just, what was that all about?
N: Me, we… it's complicated.
Uzi: Don't tell me it's complicated! You're going to tell me everything you know about that thing NOW.

N hesitated for a few seconds, but Uzi looked at him annoyed, clearly not willing to listen to an excuse, to which she had to give up.

N: It's okay, but, you should know that I don't have all the details, it was V and J who knew the most about this, I… she just followed her orders.
Uzi: Fine, fine, but start talking already.
N: Okay… tell me, how much do you know about us when we got here?
Uzi: Outside of the fact that they came here killing everyone?
N: Well... let's say it wasn't that way, oh at least not as they told you.
Uzi: What do you mean?

In retrospect
A ship arrives and lands on Copper-9, some drones came out of it, but they weren't teardown drones, as they were wearing JCJenson uniforms.

N: When the core incident happened, they first sent an investigation team to find out what happened.

The group of “investigative drones” walked around the site examining the bodies of other wrecked drones on the ground.

Drone Researcher 1: Commando, you guys get to see this, it's a fucking massacre.

Suddenly a metallic noise is heard coming from a mound of bodies piled to one side. The drones look at each other suspiciously and approach cautiously. While one of them speaks.

Drone Investigator 2: Who's there?

N: These drones had no means of defense.

The leader of the group approaches one of the bodies and touches it, nothing happens.

N: They didn't have a chance.

A cable shoots out of the mound and through the leader's head.

Drone Investigator 3: Wow, what the hell?!

What looks like a clawed hand emerges from the mound and grabs the body, then a partially formed mechanical creature rises up, legless and missing an arm, but his appearance is intimidating enough that the drones know he caused it all. this, especially when he starts laughing.

End of hindsight
Uzi: So, that thing was the one that slaughtered the drones and not you?
N: Uh… 50/50.

Uzi looked seriously at N.

Uzi: We're not for N games.
N: Sorry, just me-
Uzi: That doesn't matter now, if what you say is true and then they sent you guys to take over.
V: No

V realized that her partner had opened her mouth, so she decided that if they were to know the truth she should tell it herself.

Uzi: What did you mean by that?
V: That after that, "Incident", combat drones were sent to eliminate that thing.
Uzi: Drones what?
V: Basically soldier drones, with weapons and the whole thing.
Uzi: And what happened?
V: We could barely hold that thing back, what do you think happened to them?

Uzi swallowed at that.

Doll: Если компания хочет убить эту штуку, почему они не послали вас с самого начала?
V: Because we didn't exist at that time, or at least not as such.
N: what do you mean?

V hesitated a few seconds before answering.

V: According to J, we are an… update that the combat drones should have received, but they gave it to us because they had unwanted behavior changes.
Uzi: Define, “unwanted behaviors”.
V: Well, they became extremely irritable, hyper active and started killing everything that moved.
Uzi: How are you?

V looked annoyed at Uzi.

V: Believe me, they were much worse, but as she said, in short they went crazy, so the company ordered us to take care of them.
Uzi: They sacrificed them.
V: It's a way of saying it, but yes.
Uzi: N, why didn't you mention that?
N: Because, honestly I didn't remember them, I mean, from what V says I think he's referring to team 23 and J didn't let me help much.
Uzi: Anyway, I think- wait you said 23.
V: yes
Uzi: You mean-
V: 23 teams were sent to put an end to that thing and none of them succeeded, we are team 24.

There was an awkward silence, Uzi trying to process the information she had just received, knowing that 23 groups of company-armed drones had been destroyed by that thing… it was terrifying.

Uzi: And you say that only you could face it?
V: Well, not exactly, that bastard destroyed my head and it took me a while to regenerate, when I woke up N told me that J had killed him, something that by the way turned out NOT TO BE TRUE.

N laughed nervously at V's comments.

N: In my defense J said that he had done it.
V: Anyway, when I got there his body was lying in the snow without moving, it was very big and they had given us the order to eliminate all the drones in the area to make sure that it hadn't escaped infecting someone, we needed to stock up on oil and we couldn't leave it out in the open, just like that, so what and...
Uzi: So what?

V and N didn't respond, Uzi didn't understand the reason for this, until he realized with horror what they were referring to.

Uzi: You buried him-
Doll: На горе трупов.

He said coming to the same conclusion as Uzi

Uzi: But why didn't they destroy it?
V: J didn't want to and said we needed to keep it, company orders.
Uzi: You can't be serious.
V: Ok, looking back maybe it wasn't the best idea, but she was the boss at the time, okay?
Uzi: I know, but why the hell would the company want to keep the thing that killed so many of their drones, it doesn't make sense, they'd just be wasting resources.
Doll: Я тут о чем-то подумал, она говорит, что "Джей" убила эту штуку, но явно это было не так, но и она не мо гла притворяться, что это сделала, так как ее тело не имеет сознания, а vdrug-
Uzi: J was infected all this time.

Uzi noticed that Doll looked at her annoyed for interrupting her.

Uzi: Hey, you did the same.
V: I doubt J was infected, I mean, that thing tried to turn us into its "minions" several times, even with J, but never succeeded.
N: That is true.
Uzi: But, what if she wasn't infected as such, but she, she "contained" it.
N: What do you mean?
Uzi: Think about it, J was absurdly loyal to the company, and they wanted this thing alive, but clearly couldn't kill it, what if J managed to transfer that monster's consciousness into hers and she contained it.

There was silence again.

Uzi: But, when I killed her, the program took over, the Absolute Fixer was supposed to regenerate J, but instead she just grew and grew, what if she wasn't killing for the sake of killing.
N: I don't understand, what does the program have to do with that thing?
Doll: Во время занятия профессор сказал, что чем больше и сложнее машина, тем больше вычислительной мо щности требуется для ее правильной работы.
Uzi: Right, maybe the fixer was trying to keep him contained, but… when we killed him, we-
V: They released that thing.

V looked annoyed at N and Uzi, the latter lowered her head as she realized that the monster that had taken Thad and many others had been released by her, first attracting the murder drones to the colony and now releasing an immortal monster that He only seeks to kill. It was in situations like this that she wondered… what would have happened if she had never left the colony that day? I don't notice her concern and try to cheer her up.

N: Uzi, it's not your fault, well technically yes, but the point is that we've all made mistakes, right girls?

V was not interested in answering and Doll just looked away from her.

N: Uzi you don't-
V: Oh that's not true!

Quickly V decade, N did not understand until, under her sight, there were hundreds and hundreds of those "zombie minions" around the place, most walking aimlessly, while others pulled out the piled bodies and took them away.
N quickly descended with the girls and stood next to V.

N: V, now what?
V: Silence, I try to think.
Uzi: I thought you'd jump right in and kill them all.
V (annoyed): I don't know if you noticed, but those things aren't easy to kill.
Doll: Так что, мы просто спрячемся здесь?
V: No, but, hey, Violet.
Uzi: Don't call me that.
V: Ok, “Uvi” or whatever your name is, can't your weapon shoot a super laser like J?

Uzi looked annoyed at V

Uzi: First, my name is Uzi and second, no, the energy core wears out very quickly and I used it to kill that other thing.
V: Ugh, great, and your Russian girl?

Doll looked annoyed at vi and manifested a knife pointed at her.

V (growling): Seriously none of you think of anything! I guess that's how J must have felt with us.
Uzi: Oh I'm sorry if, you know, we tried to process everything that just happened.
N: Hey girls
V: Oh yes, of course, now you start to think about that, right?!
N: Girls
Uzi: Maybe we could deal with this more calmly if, you know, THEY DIDN'T KILL SO MANY OF US!
V: Do you really blame me? When were you the one who released that thing?!
Uzi: Hey, it was the Absolute Solver who broke my weapon and destroyed himself.
V: I remind you that you killed J and he became that thing because of you.
N: Girls
V (points to N): And if you hadn't sided with him, we would have finished all this, and we'd go home.

Tired of nobody listening to him, N screamed.


There was an awkward silence, mostly because N wasn't the type to, well, yell for attention.

Uzi: Hey, we're waiting for you, what's up?

N pointed to the side, when they turned around they saw a large number of those "zombies" staring at them.

V: oh

The creatures began to laugh and ran towards them.

V: Oh you have to be kidding.

V quickly launched herself at the "zombies" cutting a group of them in half, but as expected, this didn't stop you and they began to crawl towards her. N fired several energy shots from her arm.

N: Uzi, I think we could use a little help.
Uzi: I don't know if you noticed, but I need a power core for my weapon to work.
N: But you don't have those claws and-?

Uzi looked annoyed at N not wanting to bring it up at that moment.

N: O-okay

N pierced the torso of one of the zombies and ripped out its energy core which he delivered to Uzi. He quickly attached it to his gun and began shooting at the creatures that kept coming.

Uzi: This is much better.

He quickly smashed the heads of several of them, to ensure that the bastards could not rise again. While this was happening, Doll was eliminating multiple zombies that were trying to get to her, but either she sent them flying using her powers, or she crushed them with said strange symbol that she summoned. V for her part cut and shredded all the zombies she found, if she were around another time she would possibly drink her oil, but she was more focused on finding Thad and preventing him from finding the body of that thing that in that.
As she ripped the head off of a zombie drone, she heard what seemed to be the sound of... an engine?, when she turned her head a gray blur hit her. When he fell to the ground, he saw what appeared to be a wrecked takedown drone, barely standing, with wires sticking out of its body and its wings spread, but unlike them, its clothing was more… “formal”, it was covered. of oil, but even so the symbol of the company and the number 23 on his chest were distinguishable, he was one of the members of team 23 sent to deal with that thing, who had to be sacrificed as they became unstable.

V: Ugh, what I was missing.

The creature laughed and jumped towards her, its claws collided with V's who tried to defend himself from the zombie that did not stop laughing, N attacked him from behind, but surprisingly, his broken wings bent towards him causing a deep cut on his neck. chest. N stepped back somewhat in pain, then pointed her cannon arm at him, but noticed that V was in the middle.

N: V move.
V: Do you think I can? Just shoot him!
N: But-
V: Just do it!

N was forced to fire, creating a large cloud of smoke as the shot hit, she approached and found V badly damaged, having lost a leg and an arm.

N: are you okay?
V: This is nothing.

Suddenly the winged zombie pounced on N, a large part of her body was missing, only her torso and one arm remaining.

N: Ah, take it from me.

What could be described as a ninja star flew out and impaled the zombie's head, spinning inside and ripping him apart internally, the beast convulsing before falling dead to the ground. N looked in the direction of his savior seeing that it was Doll, Uzi was shooting at the other zombies that were advancing towards them trying to make them go back.

Uzi: Not to put pressure on them, but these things keep coming, how many of us did they kill?
V: In our defense, that thing did 70% of the job.

V, having partially regenerated, prepared to jump into the approaching zombie army, but stopped when she heard laughter and growls from another direction, she and N turned in that direction and saw multiple eyes in the blizzard staring at them, V between the hills. her eyes to see straight, only to be caught off guard when the rest of the now zombie team 23 flew in her direction. Team 23 unlike the team of N, V and J, this was made up of 12 prototype disassembly drones, if killing one cost them anything, this was going to take longer, they flew over them as if they were vultures, they then charged into the group in an attempt to finish them off.

V: Ugh, it had to be these guys.
N: Do you know them?

V cut two to one who flew at her and fired multiple rounds at her head to make sure he didn't get back up.

V: We killed them, you don't remember, no wait, J left you out of that.
N: That when she was her?
Uzi: Look, I'd love to know the context of all this, but we could focus on that later!

Uzi blocked the claws of one of those things with his weapon, he held her and tried to snatch it away to leave her defenseless, because she pressed the trigger, the weapon began to shoot in all directions, accidentally hitting both the zombie drones and V and N.

N: Ouch.
V: Be careful idiot!
Uzi: Do you think I can control it?!

One of the shots went to Doll, who covered herself waiting for the impact, but there was none, when she opened her eyes she saw that she had managed to stop the energy projectile in midair, she didn't have time to process this when one of those things struck her. stabbing him in the chest, she screamed in pain, but she wasn't going to sit idly by, so she redirected the projectile's course and launched it at the flying drone. Although she didn't hit the target, if she smashed her arms, she clearly didn't take it well and she lunged at Doll, who manifested several knives and threw them at her head to kill him once and for all.
On the other hand, V had to deal with 3 of those things, as if he didn't have enough problems. She turned her hand into a kind of harpoon and threw it at one of them, the harpoon stuck in the chest of the winged zombie and threw it at a group of common zombies that were approaching, the other two jumped towards her, she barely managed to stop. the first, but not the second, who bit his left arm. V grunted in pain before yelling at her partner.

V: M!
N: I'm-
V: Help!
N: oh

He quickly destroyed the drone that was attacking him and flew towards V, taking the drone that was directly attacking her by surprise and threw it at another one that was flying towards them, smashing them in the air, V turned his free hand into a sword and attacked the drone that was attacking him. It bit the arm, but it was faster and ripped it off, she screamed, but in anger and changed her sword for a machine gun with which she shot at the creature, destroying it.

V: Thanks, uh…
V: Yes, that.

Back with Uzi, she was trying to free her weapon from the grasp of the flying drone, who refused to let go.

Uzi: Oh come on, let it go.

Uzi kicked at the creature, but it had no effect, instead it hit him back, Uzi fell and the monster threw the weapon aside, she tried to move away, but he lunged at her, digging his claws into the snow and it opened its mouth, showing its sharp teeth and wires that dangled from its mouth. When the zombie was going to "bite" it, almost as if he did it out of instinct, Uzi attacked the creature, thrusting his fist into its mouth, then his hand turned into a claw and opened it, smashing its head, the monster fell dead. On top of her, Uzi pushed the body to the side and looked at her claw, covered in oil... and felt the need to taste it, lost in her thoughts it felt like time froze, until she heard Doll scream, she quickly regained her composure and returned his claw to normal. Doll was desperately trying to get rid of the tide of reanimated bodies that were trying to reach her, although she could easily just destroy them using her powers, it turned out that the damage caused by that "spider" in the colony somewhat interfered with her, so she was it was making it difficult to use them correctly. Quickly a flurry of energy shots tore most of them apart and they gave him time to get away from them. V flew into the air attracting the remaining flying zombies who started flying after her. N tried to follow them, but she saw that Uzi and Doll were being surrounded, she looked at V being surrounded in the air by those things, but Uzi was also in trouble. N had to decide whether to help Uzi or help V.
Uzi and Doll were trying to push back the zombies that were crawling towards them, Uzi's gun would run out of power at this point and Doll's powers would keep failing.

Uzi: Ugh, because they just don't die.

She kicked one that was nearby while the others kept getting closer. One who was supposedly dead behind Uzi, got up and grabbed her from behind, she tried to fight, but accidentally dropped her weapon, fed up with this, her hands turned into claws and she impaled the drone's head, then threw it to the ground and began to crush it over and over and over again until it was simply nothing but scrap.
She gasped at the incessant urge to kill, for doing so... felt good, felt VERY good, she looked at her claws again, with oil dripping from them, she again felt the need to taste it, but quickly came back to her senses when more of those zombies approached her, a wide smile broke out on her face while that strange symbol flashed on her visor, she didn't bother to retrieve her weapon, because she already had others.
As this was happening, a white eye under a mound of corpses watched the group fight their minions.

01001000 01001111 01010011 01010100 01001001 01001100 01000101 00100000 01000001 01010010 01010100 01001001 01000110 01001001 01000011 01001001 01000001 01001100 00100000 01001100 01001001 01000110 01000101 00100000 01000110 01001111 01010010 01001101 01010011 00100000 01001111 01010110 01000101 01010010 01000011 01001111 01001101 01001001 01001110 01000111 00100000 01000100 01000101 01000110 01000101 01001110 01010011 01000101 01010011
01000001 01001110 01000001 01001100 01011001 01011010 01001001 01001110 01000111 00101110 00101110 00101110

01010011 01000101 01010010 01001001 01000001 01001100 00100000 01000100 01000101 01010011 01001001 01000111 01001110 01000001 01010100 01001001 01001111 01001110 00100000 01001110 00100000 11100010 10000000 10010011 00100000 01001101 01001111 01000100 01000101 01010010 01000001 01010100 01000101 00100000 01000100 01000001 01001110 01000111 01000101 01010010
01010011 01000101 01010010 01001001 01000001 01001100 00100000 01000100 01000101 01010011 01001001 01000111 01001110 01000001 01010100 01001001 01001111 01001110 00100000 01010110 00100000 11100010 10000000 10010011 00100000 01001000 01001001 01000111 01001000 00100000 01000100 01000001 01001110 01000111 01000101 01010010
01010011 01000101 01010010 01001001 01000001 01001100 00100000 01000100 01000101 01010011 01001001 01000111 01001110 01000001 01010100 01001001 01001111 01001110 00100000 01000100 00110000 00110001 00110001 00100000 11100010 10000000 10010011 00100000 01001000 01001001 01000111 01001000 00100000 01000100 01000001 01001110 01000111 01000101 01010010
01010011 01000101 01010010 01001001 01000001 01001100 00100000 01000100 01000101 01010011 01001001 01000111 01001110 01000001 01010100 01001001 01001111 01001110 00100000 00100101 00101111 00100100 00100110 00100100 00100110 00100011 00100000 11100010 10000000 10010011 00100000 01000100 01000001 01001110 01000111 01000101 01010010 01001111 01010101 01010011 11100010 10000000 10100110

01000001 01001110 01000001 01001100 01011001 01010011 01001001 01010011 00100000 01000101 01010010 01010010 01001111 01010010
01010010 01000101 01010100 01010010 01011001 01001001 01001110 01000111 00101110 00101110 00101110

01000001 01001110 01000001 01001100 01011001 01010011 01001001 01010011 00100000 01000101 01010010 01010010 01001111 01010010
01000101 01001110 01010100 01001001 01010100 01011001 00100000 01010101 01001110 01000100 01000101 01010010 00100000 01010100 01001000 01000101 00100000 01001001 01001110 01000110 01001100 01010101 01000101 01001110 01000011 01000101 00100000 01001111 01000110 00100000 01010101 01001110 01001011 01001110 01001111 01010111 01001110 00100000 01010000 01010010 01001111 01000111 01010010 01000001 01001101

00101110 00101110 00101110

01000011 01000001 01001100 01000011 01010101 01001100 01000001 01010100 01001001 01001110 01000111 00100000 01010000 01010010 01001111 01000010 01000001 01000010 01001001 01001100 01001001 01010100 01011001 00100000 01001111 01000110 00100000 01001101 01001001 01010011 01010011 01001001 01001111 01001110 00100000 01010011 01010101 01000011 01000011 01000101 01010011 01010011 11100010 10000000 10100110

01000011 01000001 01001100 01000011 01010101 01001100 01000001 01010100 01000101 01000100 11100010 10000000 10100110

00110100 00110001 00101110 00111000 00110111 00100101 00100000 01000011 01001000 01000001 01001110 01000011 01000101 00100000 01001111 01000110 00100000 01010011 01010101 01000011 01000011 01000101 01010011 01010011

11100010 10000000 10100110

00101110 00101110 00101110 01010000 01010010 01001111 01001010 01000101 01000011 01010100 00100000 01001000 01010101 01001110 01010100 01000101 01010010 00100000 01010000 01010010 01000101 01010110 01001001 01000101 01010111
00111000 00110110 00101110 00110111 00111000 00100101 00100000 01000011 01001111 01001101 01010000 01001100 01000101 01010100 01000101

00101110 00101110 00101110

01000001 01000100 01000100 01001001 01001110 01000111 00100000 01010110 01000001 01010010 01001001 01000001 01000010 01001100 01000101 01010011 11100010 10000000 10100110

01010010 01000101 01001100 01000101 01000001 01010011 01001001 01001110 01000111 00100000 01010011 01010101 01000010 01001010 01000101 01000011 01010100
01010010 01000101 01010011 01010111 01010010 01001001 01010100 01001001 01001110 01000111 00100000 01001001 01001110 01001001 01010100 01001001 01000001 01001100 00100000 01010000 01010010 01001111 01000111 01010010 01000001 01001101 01001101 01001001 01001110 01000111 11100010 10000000 10100110

01001111 01000010 01001100 01001001 01010100 01000101 01010010 01000001 01010100 01000101 00100000 01001000 01001111 01010011 01010100 01001001 01001100 01000101 00100000 01000001 01010010 01010100 01001001 01000110 01001001 01000011 01001001 01000001 01001100 00100000 01001100 01001001 01000110 01000101 00100000 01000110 01001111 01010010 01001101 01010011

Returning to our group, Uzi ripped and shredded the zombie drones that pounced on him, this while N and V took care of the last 2 remaining flying zombies.

V: huh, L?
N: It's N
V: Whatever, don't you think you should tell your girlfriend to calm down a bit?
N: what?! No, she's not-

No sooner had she noticed the small mountain of bodies that Uzi had created, she found herself hitting while she was laughing uncontrollably at a zombie that had stopped moving a long time ago.

N: Oh… that.

N managed to decapitate the flying zombie that was attacking him, then he approached Uzi, Doll was on one side watching, she didn't dare to approach her crazed companion.

N: Uh, Uzi?

Uzi ripped the head off one of the zombies and used it to hit the limp body of another that was next to it.

Doll: Я не думаю, что это хорошая идея, чтобы привлечь его внимание her?
N Uzi?

Uzi turned around, about to drink the oil from the head she was holding, until N caught her attention and she came to her senses.

Uzi: No?
N: what are you doing?
Uzi: I…

She quickly tossed her head to the side and climbed down the small hill of corpses that she had made.

Uzi: she was just in charge of cleaning the place.
N: Umm… And that was necessary?

N pointed to the mound of corpses that Uzi made.

Uzi: Oh, that, it's just… let's change the subject.
V: yes

V approached holding the head of the zombie that was attacking her, then smashed it to make sure the bastard stayed dead.

V: How to find your "little friend" and put an end to all this at once.
Uzi: Look, I want to end all of this too, but you don't think there's any alternative other than, you know, killing him.
Doll: Ненавижу это признавать, но он прав.

Uzi looked at Doll confused considering that she tried to kill V just a few hours ago.

Doll: But that doesn't mean I like him.

V looked at Doll who looked at her annoyed, she rolled her eyes and turned her attention to N.

V: Well, I think he is already

V was interrupted when a kind of mechanical roar was heard in the distance.


And she was already fed up with these zombies, they simply did not stop coming, or so she thought, since there were practically none alive, but in the distance she could see a light moving erratically and quickly.

Uzi: What is that?
V: Ugh, I'll take care of it.

V opened his wings and flew into the blizzard which had increased, a few seconds passed without anything happening, until shots and sounds of clashing blades were heard, then V flew out and crashed into Doll.

N: V!

N rushed to help her partner while Uzi aimed his gun and fired at the approaching dim light, but missed as she was zic-zac.

Uzi: What the hell?

Suddenly, the creature jumped towards her, managing to ram her, the beast raised her claw to pierce it, but Uzi stopped it in time with his own, it was at that moment that she was able to see it more closely. He was moderately taller and bulkier than a common drone, he had a red jacket that was torn and covered in oil, his arms and legs were more robotic and coarse, in addition to having claws on both his hands and feet, his helmet was cracked and at the same time Like other zombies, it seemed that its jaw was attached to its head by cables, in addition to having a single glowing white eye in the middle of its visor.

Uzi: T-Thad?

A shot of energy hit the creature freeing Uzi, but this had not finished with it, as it was clearly more resistant than the others, the beast quickly recomposed itself and ran on all fours towards en, who fired again.

Uzi: No, wait.

N fired, but the zombie hunter dodged and jumped on him, digging his claws into his torso, N screamed in pain as the hunter violently withdrew his claws ripping into his chest and digging them into his face . Doll decided not to be left behind and materialized several knives around her and threw them at the creature. She, however, did not even bother to protect herself, since most of the knives could not go through his body and only one hit his head, but he simply took it from his face and threw it abruptly to the ground. He then began to approach her while chuckling slightly as Doll backed away, she tried to summon one of those weird symbols like when they were in the colony, but it just kept failing without interacting with the physical world. Luckily for her, V managed to wake up and lunged at the thing, using her swords to block the attack from her claws and trying to cut it.

V: I should have killed you when I had the chance!

He simply laughed, irritated by this, she managed to stab him into her chest with her sword, then spread her wings and began to soar with him.

N: W, wait!

V continues to rise as she punched the monster in the face.

V (hitting him): Let's see, if you keep laughing at this.

The creature continued laughing at her, V angrily tried to hit him to smash his head, but he caught her arm with her mouth and ripped it off causing her to scream in pain.

V: Ah, damn son of-!

But she couldn't finish when the enhanced zombie opened her mouth and several wires came out of it, digging into her head.

V: No

His visor glitched and a message appeared on it.


Then her body was inert beginning to fall at high speed. Below, Doll, N and Uzi looked expectantly when they noticed how they began to descend at high speed.

Uzi: Uh… that doesn't look good.
N: V!

N opened his wings and tried to reach them, but they crashed into the ground, generating a large cloud of dust and snow that covered the place. After a few seconds of waiting, the light from the creature's eye and its laughter became present and showed itself above. from V's body which cushioned the fall, N launched against the beast which responded in the same way, digging its claws into the torso, then opened them throwing large amounts of oil and took N's head and smashed it against the ground , only to then crush it with the claw of his foot, then he slowly turned his head and laughed when he saw the two remaining girls, to later launch himself on Doll.

Uzi: Ugh, dammit.

She tried to shoot, only to realize that she couldn't pull the trigger, it was as if her body refused to do it, while the zombie attacked Doll who threw knives at it to stop it but just like before, it was useless, because which using all his concentration, he managed to stop him by placing that strange holographic symbol on his limbs, although he could easily tear him to pieces at that moment, due to the failure of his powers, the most he could do was stop him, but that was enough, because Uzi could take care of the rest.

Doll: Давай, поторопись и сNESи ему голову.

Uzi raised her gun and aimed at the head of the zombie that was struggling to get free... but for some reason she couldn't pull the trigger, she tried to, but she couldn't, because in that monster she still saw her old friend her.

Doll: Узи, чего ты ждешь, я не могу-

The creature broke free of those holographic restraints causing a small burst of energy that sent Doll flying and knocked her unconscious. Then she directed her gaze to Uzi who still couldn't shoot him, he began to walk towards her while Uzi backed away out of fear.

Uzi: Thad

The creature began to laugh slowly as it extended its claws.

Uzi: I-I know you're there… please don't make me do this.

He did not stop his advance, in turn N recovered consciousness after regenerating seeing how that thing approached his friend.

N: Ozi!

Uzi finally using all his willpower managed to pull the trigger... but nothing happened. It turns out that he spent all of the weapon's energy on the zombie army from before. When he looked up he saw the zombie standing in front of her, staring at her with his only eye.

Uzi: Thad, I-

Uzi stopped as he felt the blades of the being's claws pierce his body, then the creature picked him up while roaring and split him horizontally in two, throwing his remains roughly in different directions, with the top falling to the side of the mound of bodies. that she had formed earlier and a few surviving zombies that were creeping towards her.


N got up when he saw his friend being violently murdered and pounced on the monster that he had begun to laugh uncontrollably. He blocked the attack of his claws with his own and tried to subdue him, but N was too angry, and when that happens, he stops being the cute boy of the group, his visor showed an X instead of his eyes and he started to smile, then he held the creature's hands tightly and placed his foot on his chest, then he began to pull while it tried to free himself from his grip, but it was too late, N ripped off the zombie's arms and then dug his claws into his torso, beginning to destroying it while ripping out its insides even using his mouth, then he began to repeatedly hit its head with his hands and didn't stop until only shattered scrap was left. Despite this he didn't stop until he heard V's voice.

V: No?

N stopped his attack upon hearing that V finally remembered his name. Then they both looked at each other in awkward silence. To say that she was surprised was an understatement, J always said how N was a burden and a dead weight, so V's vision of him was not a big deal, but he never thought that his clumsy partner could "explode" like that. shape.

V (thinking): I wonder what J would have said if she saw you now?
N: I-
V: Look that doesn't matter now, that thing isn't really dead, now we just have to get rid of its body and all this hell will be over.
Doll: What kind of thing?

Doll said with her arms crossed, although she had been willing to help them finish this thing off, what would they do next? N and V were still Killer Drones, their purpose was to kill the worker drones, they would return to the colony and kill to all.

V (annoyed): What are you insinuating?
Doll: Что они собираются делать, когда закончат с этой штукой?
V: Look whatever your name is, I still haven't forgotten that you tried to kill me, so I would suggest you watch your words.

They both looked at each other with mutual contempt, while N was silent thinking about Uzi. But they all stopped when they heard a strange sound, like metal and plastic breaking. The three of them turned slowly in the direction of the creature and saw how it was getting up, despite its damaged state multiple cables were coming out of its body, and connected to the arms and various remains of other zombies scattered around the place and the remains of the shattered head, the wires from the head reached out and grabbed the head of the flying drone that N had decapitated earlier, then attached it to his body, for a few seconds there was silence, but it was broken by the laughter of that monster whose eye lit up in your viewer.

V: Why can't you just fucking die?!
Doll(scared): Ч-что это за монстр на самом деле?

N did not hesitate and launched himself again at Uzi's killer, but he had to avoid it as the zombie doubled his body and multiple cables with pieces of sharp metal extended from the large hole in his torso thanks to N. Then he rejoined and ran on all fours towards V and Doll, V changed his claws for weapons and started shooting, while Doll threw whatever she had, knives, throwing stars or pieces of zombie drones at him. But nothing seemed to stop him, V tried to sting him with the stinger of his tail, managing to infect his arm with the acid nanobots, but this did not seem to matter to him, even when it began to corrode and separate from his body. He countered by stabbing V into his arm and again ripping him from his body.

V: Not again!

The zombie was going to impale his head with his claws, but a holographic symbol of Doll around his wrist stopped him. N then charged and pinned him before throwing himself against a wall to pin him down.

N: V shoot!

V, unlike Uzi, did not hesitate and began to shoot at point blank range at both of them, the shots slightly damaged N but the same could not be said of the creature, that although its body could resist the shots, its head could not and it was being damaged. So to get rid of it, I grabbed the stinger from N's tail and cut it before digging into the head, causing it to remain inert on the ground, although the disassembly drones could resist the effect of their own nanobots, or at least of In a way that wasn't lethal, that didn't mean they couldn't hurt them. After breaking free, he ran again like a wild animal towards the two girls while they shot at him. V exchanged his amra for a sword while he attacked the monster.


He held the swords and using absurd force split them in two, V changed his weapon again, this time into normal claws. Then he tried to attack it with his claw, but the zombie opened its mouth and several cables came out like tentacles trying to catch it, V quickly moved away and avoided being touched, although he had tried to maintain his serious attitude throughout this time, the truth it's that there was something that worried her, and a lot, her arm, it didn't regenerate, well, it did, but VERY slowly. Because? Why wasn't her regeneration system repairing her at the same speed as before? What was that feeling in his chest? Was it fear?
V moved further away from the creature fearing for her life, whatever she did to him had triggered that survival instinct she apparently lacked, apparently a side effect of slowing her regeneration.
Doll looked annoyed at V when she saw that she was alone against this monster, who began to approach her in a threatening way while she laughed. She manifested various knives, saws, ninja stars and anything she could use as a weapon, then began to throw it at him as he began to run against her, unlike before if it had a greater effect, as the objects managed to go through his body and leave him still. more, but he kept advancing, even his cables quickly assimilated several of the objects that were thrown at him in his own body. Doll, on the other hand, was exhausted, using her powers so often and relentlessly was draining almost all of her energy, not to mention that they were not working properly, since several of the objects that she was throwing at her were vanishing in the air. So using what little energy she had left, she manifested various symbols on different parts of the zombie's body and turned them around several times, a horrible sound of metal and artificial organs breaking was heard as the creature's body fell to the inert ground. . Doll breathed heavily feeling her microprocessors boiling from overexertion, sure that now the damned should be dead...
I think by now you should get the idea that this is almost impossible, as her broken body began to rise again, twisting the broken joints and bending to stay upright. Then she began to walk on all fours towards her, she was helpless, too tired to do anything, she was about to close her eyes waiting for death when several shots attracted the creature. N and V started shooting at the monster in order to kill it once and for all, but without success. N had already regenerated and V had decided to attack again because she didn't know that this thing would inevitably kill them, but at least she wouldn't die hiding like a rat. Another confrontation with an obvious result was about to take place, but the zombie stopped and looked in another direction. The group of three looked confused in the same direction and noticed something, in the small mound of bodies from before, several of the zombies' bodies were torn apart and open, as if a wild animal had devoured them, since said animal was on its back. , over a corpse and what could be described as two wings made of... meat?, the creature slowly turned around and showed itself as Uzi, but in the middle of her visor was that strange symbol and her mouth had several sharp teeth, she started laughing when she flew at high speed against her old friend managing to ram him and causing them to crash against the wall causing a cloud of smoke, when this dissipated his new appearance could be better appreciated, his body looked slightly different, but his legs were now more similar to V's, in addition to possessing a tail with yellow acid on it, but the most prominent thing was clearly its wings that seemed to be made of meat. Uzi laughed and attacked the zombie Thad who could barely defend himself due to only having one arm, several cables came out of the zombie's mouth and tried to hold Uzi, but she countered with her tail which he bit and smashed, causing the acid to melt his wires and part of his jaw. As these two killed each other, V, N, and Doll looked away from the conflict.

V: Since when-?
N: We shouldn't help.
Doll: Я не думаю, что это хорошая идея?

Uzi pinned Thad slammed him repeatedly into the ground as he laughed uncontrollably, then without giving him a chance to defend himself plunged his claw into the hole in his chest and violently ripped out what could only be described as his heart. Whereupon the creature wailed in apparent pain, and its single eye went black. Uzi laughed as she dripped the oil onto her face.

V (pointing her arm at her weapon): Great now we have to deal with her.
Doll: Я думаю, мы не должны привлекать его внимание her-
N: Uzi you did amazing!

Uzi turned to look at them abruptly and smiled when he saw new prey, he put aside the artificial heart and began to approach them while she slightly tilted her head, as if they were analyzing them.

V: Goodbye to the surprise factor, idiot.
N: But, she-

Uzi's laughter began to increase as she approached them menacingly, so they "instinctively" began to back away. Uzi extended her claws ready to pounce on the poor defenseless group, as Doll could barely stand upright, V was missing an arm and his wounds were still not fully healed, N was the only one fit to fight, but it's not that the be willing to harm Uzi.
Just when she was about to pounce on them, suddenly the creature's arm grabbed her neck and pulled her close to him, showing that his "heart" had been reconnected by the cables that were reattached to his body. .

V: Oh you can't be serious!
N: Uzi!

N tried to go help her, but it was too late, the zombie opened her mouth and several new cables came out and stuck in Uzi's head. She struggled for a few seconds before going limp, N looked worried, but then the creature began to convulse violently, releasing Uzi.

01010011 01000101 01000011 01010101 01010010 01001001 01010100 01011001 00100000 01000010 01010010 01000101 01000001 01000011 01001000 00100000 01000100 01000101 01010100 01000101 01000011 01010100 01000101 01000100
01010101 01001110 01001011 01001110 01001111 01010111 01001110 00100000 01001000 01001111 01010011 01010100 01001001 01001100 01000101 00100000 01010000 01010010 01001111 01000111 01010010 01000001 01001101 00100000 01000010 01010010 01000101 01000001 01001011 01001001 01001110 01000111 00100000 01010100 01001000 01010010 01001111 01010101 01000111 01001000 00100000 01000100 01000101 01000110 01000101 01001110 01010011 01000101 01010011
01010000 01010010 01001111 01000111 01010010 01000001 01001101 00100000 01001001 01001110 01000110 01000101 01000011 01010100 01001001 01001110 01000111 00100000 01000100 01000001 01010100 01000001 00100000 01001110 01010101 01010010 01001111 01001110 01000001 01001100 00100000 01001110 01000101 01010100 01010111 01001111 01010010 01001011
01000011 01001111 01010010 01010010 01010101 01010000 01010100 01001001 01001110 01000111 00100000 01010011 01011001 01010011 01010100 01000101 01001101 01010011
01010000 01000101 01010010 01000110 01001111 01010010 01001101 01001001 01001110 01000111 00100000 01000101 01001101 01000101 01010010 01000111 01000101 01001110 01000011 01011001 00100000 01010011 01001000 01010101 01010100 01000100 01001111 01010111 01001110

The creature's body went rigid and then fell limp to the ground, this time truly dead.

V:…what the hell just happened?!
N: Ozi!
N quickly approached Uzi who was unconscious on the ground, he lifted her up and tried to make her react. On her visor could be seen a constantly rotating charge symbol.

N: Come on Uzi, she reacts.

N tried to see if she could do anything, but it's not like he really knew how to fix her, especially given the change in her body. But luckily for him, her visor came on and Uzi started to react, this time without that strange symbol on her face.

Uzi: Ugh, my head, what happened.
N: uzi

N hug Uzi happily.

Uzi: N… I… can't… breathe.
N: Oh, sorry.
Uzi: *gasp* Thanks, I felt like, wait-

It was at that moment that Uzi felt something strange in his back and her legs, when he turned to look, to say that she was surprised was an understatement.

Uzi: WHAT?! WHEN?! AS?!

Uzi looked in shock at her wings and legs, as well as her tail whose stinger was broken. But I also notice something, Thad's body lying on the ground, rapidly closing in on him.

Uzi: Oh Thad.
N: are you okay?
Uzi: Yes, only…

I look sadly at the body of her former friend.

N: Don't worry, it was for the best.

At that moment V coughed to get her attention.

V: I don't want to ruin her “moment”. But I think we should find a way to kill this thing.
Doll: Разве она не мерт-
V: Don't say it!
N: Say what?
V: That damn thing is dead because it surely isn't!

As if it was a response from fate, a strong earthquake started at that moment.

Uzi: Wow, what's going on?

She suddenly came to a stop... only for moments later what could be described as several giant tentacles made of wires to emerge from the ground towering over the group who were in a visible state of shock.

V:… How I hate myself.
Doll: Я тоже ненавижу тебя.
N(in a panic): This can't be happening, this can't be happening, this can't be happening.

Then one of the tentacles began to descend dangerously in the direction of the group that quickly began to flee.

Uzi: Watch out!

The tentacle crashed into the ground digging into it, although it missed by a considerable distance, the ground began to crack, creating a crack that began to widen more and more.

Uzi: wow

Uzi lost her balance due to his new legs and fell into the void, not that she's used to how to use them.

N: Uzi!

N quickly launched after her spreading her wings. V and Doll tried to escape, but it was useless, because the ground began to collapse and Doll was about to fall, but she managed to hold on to V, who tried to get her off of her.

V: Get off me!

V struggled with Doll, completely forgetting that the damn floor was opening up, which is why she didn't notice when a large piece of rock collided with them and made them fall into the void. The crack began to widen as it swallowed various debris, zombie remains… and Thad's body. While a certain artificial life construct was beginning to see its priorities.

01010000 01000001 01010010 01010100 01001001 01000001 01001100 00100000 01000100 01000001 01010100 01000001 01000010 01000001 01010011 01000101 00100000 01000011 01001111 01010010 01010010 01010101 01010000 01010100 01001001 01001111 01001110
01001111 01010101 01010100 01010011 01010100 01000001 01001110 01000100 01000101 01000100 00100000 01000100 01000101 01000110 01000101 01001110 01010011 01000101 00100000 01010011 01011001 01010011 01010100 01000101 01001101 01010011

01000100 01001111 01001110 00100111 01010100 00100000 01010101 01001110 01000100 01000101 01010010 01010011 01010100 01000001 01001110 01000100

01010010 01000101 00101101 01000101 01010110 01000001 01001100 01010101 01000001 01010100 01001001 01001110 01000111 00100000 01010000 01010010 01001001 01001111 01010010 01001001 01010100 01001001 01000101 01010011

00101101 01000101 01010011 01000011 01000001 01010000 01000101 00100000 01000110 01010010 01001111 01001101 00100000 01001100 01001111 01000011 01001011 01000100 01001111 01010111 01001110 00100000 01011011 01000001 01000011 01001000 01001001 01000101 01010110 01000101 01000100 01011101
00101101 01010010 01000101 01001101 01001111 01010110 01000001 01001100 00100000 01001111 01000110 00100000 01001111 01010010 01000111 01000001 01001110 01001001 01000011 00100000 01001100 01001001 01000110 01000101 00100000 01000110 01001111 01010010 01001101 01010011 00100000 01011011 01000001 01000011 01001000 01001001 01000101 01010110 01000101 01000100 01011101
00101101 01010011 01010101 01010010 01010110 01001001 01010110 01000001 01001100 00100000 01011011 01001001 01001110 00100000 01010000 01010010 01001111 01000011 01000101 01010011 01010011 01011101
00101101 01001000 01001111 01010011 01010100 01001001 01001100 01000101 00100000 01000110 01001111 01010010 01000011 01000101 00100000 01010010 01000101 01001101 01001111 01010110 01000001 01001100 00100000 11100010 10000000 10011100 01001010 01000011 01001010 01100101 01101110 01110011 01101111 01101110 11100010 10000000 10011101 00100000 01011011 01001111 01001110 00100000 01010011 01010100 01000001 01001110 01000100 01000010 01011001 01011101
00101101 01010000 01010010 01001111 01010100 01000101 01000011 01010100 00100000 01010100 01001000 01000101 00100000 01000101 01010110 01000101 01010010 01011001 01010100 01001000 01001001 01001110 01000111 00100000 01011011 01001101 01000001 01011000 01001001 01001101 01010101 01001101 00100000 01010000 01010010 01001001 01001111 01010010 01001001 01010100 01011001 01011101

01000001 01010011 01010011 01000101 01010011 01010011 01001001 01001110 01000111 00100000 01010011 01001001 01010100 01010101 01000001 01010100 01001001 01001111 01001110

11100010 10000000 10100110

01010011 01010100 01000001 01010010 01010100 01001001 01001110 01000111 00100000 01000001 01010000 01001111 01001100 01001100 01011001 01001111 01001110 00100000 01010000 01010010 01001111 01010100 01001111 01000011 01001111 01001100
YES, it was expected that episode 4 would be split into two parts due to how long it is, but I'm still glad to be able to release this before episode 5 of the series comes out as I don't want to see it and then have to change several things at the last minute, so the next part will be the last... of course if I don't overexplain it by mistake, XD.

Pdta: If you notice grammar errors or some misspelled words, it's because I don't speak English, use google translator to translate this, so some things may not be understood correctly.
submitted by carlosblue_14 to MurderDrones [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 03:43 ShadowDragon88 I've Been Reincarnated as a Bunny Girl?! Ch. 5

Hey there, readers! Here's chapter five for your reading pleasure! Please consider leaving a comment or review as those really do just pick me right up!
I've Been Reincarnated as a Bunny Girl?! (Chapter 5)
A fine drizzle was coming down on the town of Starlight Rose. A familiar wolf-kin beasta in red robes that appeared to be shimmering despite the cloudy gloom of the day was walking along the main road. In his right hand, he held a long polished oak staff, topped with a red glowing gemstone the size of his fist. In his left hand, held away from his body, was a tan leather satchel, the drawstring tied in a knot. It appeared full, and seemed to shudder and wriggle. Felixin smiled and nodded to passing villagers.

"Hey there, Felixin," came the rumbling voice of Earl Shatterknuckle. The blonde dwarf, presently wearing just simple brown leather trousers, fell in step beside his taller friend. Felixin looked down at the dwarf, whose smaller frame was bulging with muscles, with blue and gold glowing tattoos tracing intricate spider-web-like symbols across his chest and arms, smiling back.

"Good day to you, Earl," the wolf said. There was a spitting-chittering sound coming from the bag, making Felixin pause and frown before giving the satchel a good whack with his magical staff. "Quiet, you!" he hissed at it.

"Caught yourself another evil spirit, eh?" Earl said with a smirk.

"Oh yes, and this one was quite the nasty piece of work. I'm on my way back to my lab to properly dispose of it. I think it's from some destroyed remnant of Eld technology, one of the ones that gained sentience, or at least some spiritual semblance to it," Felixin said as he gave the bag another whack when it started to make some electronic beeping sounds.

"Oh?" Earl asked, curious. "I remember more than once we had some nasty run-ins with Eld-tech back when we were adventurers."

"I remember you and Melthi being the ones to turn the blasted machines on, both times when cautioned not to," Felixin said pointedly, making the dwarf chuckle.

"What can I say? We're both curious by nature!"

"Yes, that's one word for it," Felixin said with a smile, remembering his adventuring days and the party of friends he would regularly travel with. "Anyways. For some reason, about six years ago, they suddenly became much more prevalent. Thankfully, their numbers have been dropping back down over the years."

"What makes you think this one is from Eld tech?"

"It kept saying 'Does not compute!' over and over again, while also identifying some kind of rabbit threat." Felixin's mood seemed to shift and his ears laid back on his head, while his tail dipped, almost long enough to drag on the ground behind him. "And when it mentioned rabbits, it made me think of my little princess."

Earl rolled his eyes as he reached up and clapped the town wizard on the back. "Ah, Kiana'll be back to visit before you know it."

"I know... it's just, one minute she was this little delicate baby girl, and the next minute, she was this amazing young woman, all ready to up and go out."

"Didn't Kiana kick down a couple of brick walls when she was a baby?" Earl asked, scratching his head. Felixin waved a dismissive paw at that.

"Pure coincidences. Those walls were clearly unsound and improperly constructed, so much so that when she was having one of her tantrums just a little punch or kick was enough to send them tumbling down. We're lucky she wasn't hurt or scared, just confused and curious more than anything. Anyways, I just get so worried when I think of her, out there on the open road. Just so... vulnerable. Thankfully I made sure to instill in her a proper sense of caution." Earl snorted at that.


Kiana let out a roar of fury as her trusted tetsubo connected with the raised steel shield of the bandit before her. The metal dented and warped just as the bandit, shield and all, became airborne. They traveled in an arc straight towards a stone tower connected to an old run-down fort the bandits had holed up in. The screaming man smashed into the top of the tower, crumbling it, his screams instantly going silent.

"Fire!" Kiana heard a deep voice shout. There were several blasts and, thanks to Kiana's speed, she watched as five cannonballs headed in her direction. To the ordinary person, the black metallic spheres were probably nearly impossible to follow. To Kiana, it looked as though they were moving incredibly slow. She simply stepped aside from four of them, letting them explode into the nearby hillside. As the fifth one hurtled her way, she crouched slightly, raising her tetsubo like a baseball bat. She swung and smacked the cannonball, her tetsubo making a loud DING, and sent it flying right back where it had come from. The two bandits manning the cannon were obliterated along with the weapon itself, as well as a good chunk of the fort wall.

"She's some kind of demon!" one of the bandits cried. The man, really more of a boy, no older than Kiana, leapt down from the fort wall onto a carriage they had recently stolen from some traveling aristocrats. He then leapt onto the ground and sprinted out into the forest, stripping off the black cloak with the red eye in the center.

"DAMMIT!" the bandit leader cursed, pulling off his tricorn hat and dabbing his bald sweaty head with a handkerchief. While the remaining men were busy barring the windows or reloading and firing the cannons, he was gnashing his teeth. After a moment's hesitation, he pointed to a nearby subordinate. "You! Follow me. We'll unleash the troll on her."

The other bandit paled, audibly gulping. "Th-the troll? Are you sure th-that's wise?" Just as he finished asking that, another cannonball destroyed another cannon, making the entire structure shudder.

"We don't have any other options. Hopefully, after it kills her, it'll be injured enough for us to finish it off... or the other way around if she kills it." The other bandit grimaced at the options laid before them, but nodded solemnly. Outside, Kiana smacked another cannonball back at the cannon that fired it, being careful not to send it flying towards the base of the tower. According to one of the kidnapped merchants that had managed to escape and make it all the way to town, the cells where the bandits were holding their ransom victims were all on the ground floor. Kiana stopped when she heard a loud guttural roar, followed by a rapid series of loud BOOMs. Bandits ran by the windows and open holes of the fort, while the front gate slowly opened.

Out stumbled a massive creature. Its flesh was a dark brown, and had a texture not unlike tree bark. Its long arms and legs were thicker than the old oak trees in the forest near Starlight Rose. Its gnarled hands, with thick thorn-like protrusions sticking from the knuckles, balled into fists, fists that were as big as Kiana was tall. Its barrel-chest heaved, with white criss-crossing scars in its bark-flesh. It didn't have much in the way of a neck, and its head looked just like a tree stump, complete with root-like tendrils wriggling back and forth. It's mouth was partially concealed by the tendrils, until it reared back and opened its gaping maw, revealing rows of broken yellow teeth, to let out a bellow that shook the ground. From the top of its head grew two slightly spiraling branch-like horns.

"These idiots somehow managed to get a forest troll?" Kiana asked out loud, a smirk appearing on her face. "And this was only a gold-ranked quest? Something tells me I'm in for a sweet bonus."

The beast stopped as its knot-like eyes, of which there were at least seven, caught sight of the bunny girl. Up above from the second story windows and holes and from on the roof, the remaining bandits, many of them injured, looked down. Most were smirking, some of the more foolish ones shouted out taunts. The bandit leader stood there, looking grim-faced, but taking some satisfaction in knowing that despite their losses today, the annoying source of their problems was about to end, one way or another.

Kiana stuck the end of her tetsubo into the dirt, large and surprisingly quick thudding steps shaking the ground. The beast was lumbering towards Kiana, who didn't look the least bit afraid. While not intelligent enough to be truly sentient, the troll did have enough sense to know that its prey should be running. And the fact that it was just calmly standing there, staring at it, only angered it further. With a final roar, the forest troll charged forward. It balled up a massive fist, and swung straight for Kiana. Kiana swung her own fist, the two colliding.

There was a very loud, sickening crunch and pop. The bandits looked down in shock and horror as where the now screaming troll's fist and forearm had been, there was a bloody and jagged stump that ended just above the right elbow. The troll screeched and lunged at Kiana, hoping to impale her on its horns. But the bunny girl simply kicked, knocking the head clean off the rest of its body. The head bounced off a tree and rolled for a bit, settling in the dirt, a look of surprise on the stump-like face. The rest of the body tumbled over three times before coming to a rest near the make-shift stables, where the carriages and horses of the abducted nobles were kept. Kiana looked back up at the fort, making the majority of the bandits shrink back and shudder. A few of them began to wave white tablecloths hastily tied to sticks and tree branches.

A short time later the bandits, now in shackles, were being marched to the mechanical cart as the local sheriff and his deputies led them. Except for the severely injured ones, who were shackled to stretchers and loaded up into a seperate mechanical carriage. Kiana looked on as bodies were checked for possible survivors, there being very few to find, as the merchants and a few nobles were led by deputies out from the fort. Kiana smiled at them and nodded to their looks of awe, some of them having gotten a good look at the show of force the petite bunny girl had demonstrated. Ignoring the ones who shrank back away from her in fright, Kiana spotted the sheriff, a large older man in his mid-fifties with salt and pepper close-cropped hair and a matching mustache. He was wearing the classic green cloak, directing his deputies. He turned to face her as she approached.

"I think that's all cleared up," Kiana said, her voice chipper, belaying the fact she had a smattering of blood and gore staining her fur.

"I'd have to agree with you, young lady," Sheriff Tonsol said, his voice even. In truth, he had tried to avoid enlisting the aid of any adventurers until pressure from various merchants and nobility forced his hand. And even then he had expected it to involve a large party and, more than likely, some lives lost from the hostages. He was a little surprised when the girl reached into her satchel to produce a clipboard with a form on it, as well as an ink pen.

"In that case, would you mind signing this form indicating that I completed the job satisfactorily?" Tonsol looked at the form for a minute, and then his mouth curved upwards. He let out a chuckle and signed his name on the indicated line, writing in the date as well.

"Satisfactorily is putting it lightly, miss," he said, handing the clipboard and pen back to the bunny girl. "I had no idea that they had a forest troll in their possession. I went ahead and bumped up the reward."

"Oh wow, thank you, sir!" Kiana said, looking excited.

Tonsol smiled, something his deputies claimed to be a rare sight to behold. "Well, you earned it. I'm just glad you were able to get them to surrender without harming any hostages. Well, without them harming any more than the ones they did last time someone came out here to free them."

"I'm glad I could help!" Kiana said, bowing a little. "Now, I'm going to head back into town." She spread her arms wide and indicated to herself. "I'm really in need of a bath at this point."

"If you don't mind waiting a minute, you can ride back to town with us. It's faster than walking."

"Oh, thanks for the offer, but I'm good." Kiana waved, before jogging back to where she'd left her tetsubo and pack, Mirabelle coiled around it protectively. She grabbed the items up, quickly looking through the travel pack to make sure she still had everything, and nodded to herself, satisfied. She slipped the pack onto her back, then scooped her pet snake into her arms, and started to jog down the road in the direction of the town of Hengecliffe. Picking up speed, she rapidly became a blur, and in just a few seconds she was coming to a sliding stop in front of the town gates, startling a couple of bored-looking guards.

She greeted them and let Mirabelle down before they let her inside. They stared at the snake with the big pink ribbon around its neck slithering obediently behind the bunny girl. She stopped off at the local guild hall to drop off the signed paperwork and collect her now even heftier reward. She noticed a few stares in her general direction, and some unhappy grumbling from some fellow adventurers, but otherwise no one said anything.

Kiana then headed to the town inn where she still had a room for another night. Thankful again that this world had indoor plumbing, with hot water to boot, Kiana wasted no time in stripping off her gore-coated clothes, which she would wash in the laundry room down the hall, and enjoyed a nice steamy shower. She didn't have to worry about possible intruders, as Mirabelle sat coiled on the bed, ever vigilant.

"Today was a good day," Kiana said, stepping out of the shower and drying herself off, a feat that took several minutes with a towel. This left her gray and white fur all fluffed-out, which led to her brushing it out. Kiana had grown accustomed to the care and maintenance of her fur, taking pride in keeping it clean. She then donned her underwear and a cream-colored sundress from her pack, carefully putting her dirty clothes in the laundry sack in her pack. She smiled and stroked Mirabelle's head, the snake letting out a contented purr-like hiss.

"I'm going to go out and enjoy the rest of the afternoon in town. You stay here and guard the pack, okay?" she asked, slipping her mithril knuckles into her dress pockets, along with a small money pouch. Mirabelle hissed, thumping her tail on the bed in response, curling up tighter around Kiana's belongings.

"Good girl," she praised, before heading out, locking the door behind herself for good measure. Kiana smiled as she stepped out onto the paved sidewalk, carriages passing by on the street. Hengecliffe was much larger than Starlight Rose, with paved streets and even streetlights. Centrally located in a region of plains, it served as a trading hub. Kiana walked along, noticing a few men and women looking her over. Some seemed to do so with distaste, more than likely not enjoying the sight of a beasta. But most seemed to be pleasant people observing a new face.

"Well now, if my eyes are not deceiving me, it seems that an angel from the heavens has decided to grace us mere mortals with her presence." Kiana's ears twitched at the sound of the male voice. She paused and turned, looking down an alley, where a man leaning up against the side of a building stood, looking her over. He was wearing brown leather trousers, a white linen shirt, and a belt with a large buckle which, matching the large buckles on his boots, made him look a bit like a pirate. The goatee and the cutlass sheathed at his side were also not helping.

"Hello, beautiful," he said, giving Kiana a wink. Kiana rolled her eyes, and moved to keep walking, only to find a squat bald man standing in her way, grinning sinisterly. Kiana checked behind herself and saw another man, a larger one with a completely shaved head, arms crossed with a club under one arm. "Now, how about we all go somewhere more... private," the pirate-looking moron asked, giving Kiana a smug wink.

"Wow, you idiots have no idea just how badly you messed up," Kiana said, walking into the alley, the two guys following right behind her. The men chuckled. Passersby stopped when they heard three loud thuds coming from the alley, all of which made the nearby buildings shudder. They saw a bunny beasta girl walking out, brushing some dust off her sundress. She smiled and waved and continued on her way, leaving behind three broken figures. Two were lying in craters in the pavement of the alley, while the third, this one with a cutlass laying at his booted feet, was standing... his head laying all the way back in a hole in the brick wall right behind him.

Later that evening...

Kiana was sitting just outside the town walls on a hill, watching the stars come out. After sixteen years, it still mystified her to look up at the night sky, and not see any of the old constellations. She smiled as a shooting star streaked its way across the sky. Suddenly, Kiana felt a surge of energy just course through her. Her eyes faintly started to glow with the blue light, and she felt a strange pulsing in her chest. Looking around, she felt a strange magnetic pull coming from the south.

Starting as a jog, Kiana soon found herself sprinting outright across the countryside. She ran, as a blur, following the pull, her eyes gradually glowing brighter and brighter, shining with the crackling blue energy. Then, she came to a stop. She stood at the foot of a mountain, itself part of a larger range. Looking up at the mass of rock and ice, she could see broiling clouds up over it, flashes of lightning briefly illuminating the rocky and snowy peaks. With one such flash, Kiana saw something move. Something big. Kiana's glowing eyes went wide.

"Oh wooooooooow," she said, her jaw hanging open. There were rumbles as the giant coiled mass shifted. Several avalanches were caused by the serpentine body, buried under tons and tons of snow. At the very peak of the mountain, a gargantuan head rose.

"Is that a giant... cobra?" Kiana asked under her breath. Indeed, that was what the creature that seemed to dwarf the Spire appeared to be. In the light of the lightning, she saw that its scales were a deep blue, almost purple. There were stripes running down its back, but they were glowing a bright bioluminescent blue. That same glow radiated from the creature's reptilian eyes, and the inside of its hood. The same glowing blue as Kiana's eyes.

"What... are you?" Kiana asked, quietly.

I can ask the same of you, little one, a deep female voice hissed in Kiana's head. She winced and looked around. She then looked back up at the creature, her veins flooded with adrenaline. There was another flash of lightning, and in that very instant, the creature's head was bent down low, right in front of her. Kiana almost jumped back, but stopped herself. As the snake-entity looked her over with an eye that was twice as tall as she was, Kiana felt a sense of calm overtake her.

"Are you... a storm dragon? A real storm dragon?" Kiana asked, reaching out and touching the creature's cheek with her hand. It flicked out a blood red tongue, its mouth curling up a little at the corners.

That is something that little ones like to call my kind, she said. Kiana figured right then and there that this was a female.

"A monk said that... my spirit is like one of yours," Kiana said, breathlessly.

Your soulsong feels similar to one of our kind, little one, she said, turning her head and gently nuzzling the top of Kiana's head, making her ears lay flat. The storm dragon's head was almost as large as the entirety of her hometown.

"My... soulsong?" Kiana asked. The monk she had met hadn't said anything about them.

The song of your innermost being. It stands out from the loud and noisy cacophony that happens when most little ones gather together in large groups. Yours is beautiful, and a little... fluttery. The dragon gave her a wink. She reared up and opened her mouth. Electricity danced between the dragon's fangs, before she shot out a sonic boom. The raging storm above abated, the clouds dispersing, leaving only a crystal clear night sky for miles and miles around. She then turned and looked down at Kiana. The bunny girl felt the storm dragon's gaze. She felt a radiating warmth coming from her. It reminded Kiana of her mother.

It was so nice to meet you, little one. It was quite the pleasant surprise to awaken to. She let out a proud roar, and her body began to undulate. Sections of the mountain range began to crumble as large sections of mountain were crushed and smashed by the body slamming into them. The body of the dragon rose into the air, beginning to gracefully slither about. Levitating there, partially coiled, the sheer size of the storm dragon just boggled the bunny girl's mind.

"Will I see you again?" Kiana asked, feeling a little sad. She had just met this beautiful and amazing being, and already they were leaving.

Of course, little one, the mental voice in her mind chuckled warmly. I have listened to your beautiful soulsong, and I have shared my soulsong with you.

"I... I don't understand what that means," Kiana said, confused.

You will, little one, she said, you are still young, but my soulsong has resonated within you. When you stop and listen, it will become easier and easier to hear it. And thus, the bond has begun to form. In time, you shall understand. With a flick of the creature's tail, there was a flash of lightning that radiated from within the hood, and she was gone. Kiana stood there, her eyes readjusting to the dark.

"This world is so awesome," she said, a smile on her face, as she began to job back towards town. She figured that if the town gates were closed and locked, she could just jump over the wall.


The lone figure stood in the dark, staring at where the great serpent had been levitating. They were sitting on a log in a small clearing, where they had set up camp. The individual in question was polishing their armor when a gray blur had shot right past them. And then, where it had been heading, the giant serpent, an actual storm dragon, arose. They sat there in stunned silence. They knew right then and there, that it had been a sign from the gods. As they unsheathed their katana, it began to thrum with magical energy, the blade becoming engulfed in bright purple flames.

The light of the purple flames illuminated his green face, glinting off his polished tusks. "Soon, the war shall begin," said the orc, sheathing the blade and cutting off its purple light. The same purple light shone from his eyes.

Name: Kiana

Species: Beasta (Rabbit-Kin)

Age: 16

Skills: Sibling Wrangler, Babysitter, Puppy-Dog Eyes, Master Martial Arts, Brawling, Heavy Weapon Proficiency, Sarcasm Mastery, Eyerolling Mastery, Beast Taming Level 3

Class: (Official) Master-Level Dragon Monk: Storm Dragon School, Storm Dragon Hatchling.

Str: 141
Int: 12
Dex: 140
Cha: 12
Wis: 10
Con: 172
Languages: Common, Draconic

Equipment: Adventurer's Pack, Steelwood Tetsubo, Mastercraft Mithril Knuckles (x2), Rope (25 Ft.), Canteen (Full), Road Rations, Spare Clothes, Bedroll, Health Potion (x2), Books (x3)
I really hope that you enjoyed the new chapter! Thank you for reading so far!
Prev - First - Next
submitted by ShadowDragon88 to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 02:35 Voltiashima Circle of the Watchers (WIP)

So in 5th edition, as many of us are aware. Druids are underplayed, underrated and in some but not all cases, underpowered.
I’m entering a new campaign where my DM allowed us (several months in advance) to make homebrew stuff and ofc it will need to be adjusted along the way. This is what I have come up with.
Please note that this is a draft. Changes will be made before I start this new campaign.
((Notes: made for 5E and I recommend you ask your DM to see if your Druid can wear metal if you want as it does make sense for them to buy isn’t part of the desc - my dm came up with a new type of metal that druids can use native to the Fey wilds))
Name: Circle of the Watchers
Desc: Circle of the watchers connect through the earth on an inner level, they study and organise their thoughts towards their surroundings, following a cycle of nature. Birth, Learn, Adapt, Tradition and Survival.
Level 2 features:
Learning Journal of Shifting - Starting at level 2, during downtime, you may focus on summoning or making a magical journal. The journal holds an amount of pages equal to your wisdom and proficiency bonus combined. Whilst holding the journal you gain the following.
Birth of a faithful companion
Your journal evolves and brings to life a Faithful Companion. You can describe what it looks like or use the table provided below. The Creature follows a particular set of rules as seen below. - The creature is classed as small - Not capable of speech. However, you can telepathically communicate with the creature if it is within 120ft - Walk speed of 30ft. - Actions and movements are separate from the player - 20 HP - Same Core Stats as Player - Obeys the player - In combat dodge action is taken every turn (unless wildshaped) - If the creature falls to 0 HP, it dies instantly and can be resummoned by completing a 4-hour summoning ritual whilst resting. Your Journal must be present to conduct this ritual. - As an action or bonus action the companion can assume the form of any creature that has been written in the Players Journal. This is treated as wildshape - classed as a beast for all spell-related situations regardless of appearance
Faithful Companion Style Table Roll (1D6) Outcome 1 A small, green, slime 2 A small, grey, quadrupedal cloud 3 A small, red, robot 4 A small, purple, Lizard 5 A small, yellow, snake 6 A small, orange, snail
Natural Way of Survival Spell Absorption Level 6 When seeing a spell being cast, you may study how to use it but at a percentage of its strength. the spell is added to your spell list and does not count as a prepared spell. They are counted as a druid spell for you however you must still use the original casting type (INT, WIS, CHA) that was used when viewing it.
When activating this feature to learn a spell, roll a D10 and multiply the result by 10.
Role all spells like normal however afterwards, deduct the given percentage from: (rounding up or down if a decimal is to the DM’s discretion) - Healing spells - The amount of health given lowered by the percentage - Concentration - maximum duration of spell lowered by the percentage - Damaging spells - outputted damage lowered
Level 10 Features:
Adaptive Shaping
Your knowledge of shifting deepens. As an action OR bonus action you can choose to: - When using your wildshape feature on yourself, choose to only take 1 feature (ability or stat) from the target, keeping you stats. - When your Faithful Companion is wildshaping, it can now assume Your humanoid form for 1 minute. In combat, you share a movement speed however have separate actions and reactions. Your Companion can now talk for the wild shape duration. Your Companion does not have any Bonus Actions. - You may now rip out a journal page and give it to another creature. When the journal page is ripped or torn by a creature, it transforms into the creature on the page. If the creature is unwilling it can make a CON saving throw against your spell DC, on a success it losses it's action. On a loss it assumes the from for half the wildshape time.
This feature can only be used a number of times equal to: 1 + your Wisdom (WIS) Modifier. All expended uses are reset on a long rest.
((Note: You can only use one of these features per turn in battle))
Level 14 feature
Tradition of The Watchers
Evolve your tradition! Upon unlocking this feature, you may choose 2 options between Abberations, Constructs, Dragons, Elemental, Fey, Fiend, Giant, Ooze, Plant or Undead, You can, abiding by the Expanded Journal Table below and wildshape restrictions, write these creatures into your Journal.
Over the course of 8-Hours rest, you may change 1 of these options to another option. ((Note: you cannot wildshape directly into these creatures))
Expanded Journal Table
Aberrations, Constructs and dragons
Follow the "Monstrosity" Guidelines given in your "Learning Journal of Shifting" Feature. Half the amount of time you can stay shifted
Elementals, Fey, Fiends, Plants and Undead
-CR of 1/2 or below are treated as beasts for you. -Above 1/2, Follow the "Monstrosity" Guidelines given in your "Learning Journal of Shifting Feature
Ooze are beasts for you
Giants are counted as humanoids for you
Sorry for the long messages. Can’t wait for some replies. Also sorry if the format is weird. I copy pasted most of this from my notes.
submitted by Voltiashima to DnDHomebrew [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 02:08 ItsDumi [SOUL STEALER] Chapter 14 - Vhifet

A strong gust of wind blows past Raya and Kita as they walk beneath the darkening sky. The stars beading the darkened edges, like the inside of a snow globe being covered for storage.
Their attention is shifted to the myst. Kita instinctively tries to deduce where the myst will be coming from, but the brick wall of her knowledge stops her in the process.
"Where's it coming from?" Kita asks Raya.
"It'll blow from the South," Raya answers.
"How do you know that?"
"Thunderstorms often accompany the myst,"
"So the winds suggest a thunderstorm?"
"Sure," Raya responds before pointing to the sky- in the same direction the wind came from.
Kita turns around to look up at dark, distant clouds with strobes of lightning casting menacing, white flashes on the shadowy surface below.
"So you use your eyes?" Kita shrugs, realizing the technique is not all that impressive.
"Sure, but that only works when it's too late. We won't be escaping the myst's path,"
"How do the cities escape it?"
"I'm not certain. A combination of weather analysis and the alignment of the stars,"
Kita's eyebrow raises, "How the hell would the alignment of the stars determine where the myst flows?"
"I'm no observer. I don't understand the ways of the beads in the sky," Raya chuckles.
Kita wouldn't consider herself 'unintelligent' but she knows she's not the brightest flame in the fire. Using the stars to guide the motion of a 'sandstorm' is a truly unintelligent design.
"So how long do we have?" Kita asks.
"Not long. I see a good place for shelter,"
Raya points ahead of her, at the base of a mountain with a small cave entrance at its base. Small lights radiate from deep inside the cave as the surrounding fog of the impending myst slowly starts to limit their vision.
"Ah, I'd love to camp in a cave with strangers all around me," Kita sighs, and Raya just laughs- Thinking Kita's joking, but she wasn't.
No, those people are probably poor and smelly. Ugh, she'd rather sleep in the myst than deal with the pungent smell her mind is imagining much too vividly.
"Can't we just camp out here," Kita groans.
"Are you worried they'll steal the coin you no longer have?" Raya's sarcasm has Kita rolling her eyes.
"Not all of us had servants to bring beautiful men and women to the bedroom in our castle, your Heiness,"
Raya chuckles, "Our tipi isn't strong enough. The myst is quite forceful,"
"Have you ever seen anyone get consumed by the myst?" Kita finds herself curious about watching someone die in such a horrific way. Maybe she could cast a spell that does something similar.
"I have," Raya responds, to Kita's surprise. "It's quite gruesome,"
"Oh yeah? Was it a friend of yours? Family maybe?" Kita chuckles, "Some of your citizens?"
"Who then?"
"You," Raya responds, passing a smug smile to Kita.
"Seriously?" Kita asks in awe.
"Indeed," Raya responds. "I couldn't get to you in time, but when the myst passed. I found your… mangled body in the dirt,"
"How'd I get caught in it?"
"You didn't want to sleep in a cave with people 'lesser' than yourself, and opted to challenge the myst,"
"Haha, very funny," Kita replies, thinking Raya is messing with her.
"That's the true story," Raya chuckles.
"Huh…" Kita grunts, surprisingly unsurprised that she'd have done something so stupid. "What'd it do to me?"
"It melted away most of your skin and muscle. So much of it had deteriorated by the morning, I could see the beat of your heart through the gaps in your ribcage. Your body used over three hundred souls to stay alive throughout a single night,"
"Woah, that's pretty gross," Kita chuckles.
"It was," Raya laughs.
Ahead of Kita, the cave entrance peaks at the same size as one of those villain office doors. It tunnels deep into the cave. The walls tighten as they travel further in, following with light as they shuffle sideways through the cracks.
As Kita pokes her head out the final portion of the slender hallway. She stumbles out into a gargantuan sight. From her elevated position, she witnesses the largest cave she's ever seen- as far as she knows. Much wider than the canyon, an entire city expands amongst an isolated biome of glowing rivers and tipis scattered amongst this seemingly subsurface world.
At the cave's ceiling, dozens of large, circular tents hang suspended on chains as though they're the eggs of some gargantuan beast. All interconnected with walkways. Their only connection to the ground are long, steel wires that lead up to platforms amongst the orb-shaped homes. She can see a figure in the distance, smaller than the tip of her finger, scaling up one of these wires rapidly. With some sort of connection at their waist.
"This isn't as small as you made it seem," Kita responds. Staring into the naturally illuminated glows of purple and sapphire, coupled with the accenting glow of orange lights scattered in homes and pathways throughout the city.
"It's grown a lot since I was last here," Raya says, with an expression as perplexed as Kita's.
"When was that?" Kita chuckles," When they'd just found it?"
"... Yeah," Raya stammers.
Kita raises both her eyebrows as she whistles in shock, "Alright then, Grandma,"
Raya chuckles, rolling her eyes to look at Kita, "You're older than I am,"
At the far end of the city, a large stairway leads up to a marketplace, occupying a low, but large platform of what was probably once a gigantic boulder. With streams of people walking towards it.
"Food," Kita commands, seeing the marketplace.
"I'll set up the tipi," Rays adds. "Bring something back for me,"
"Where you thinking of setting up?"
"Over there," Raya points at a lesser occupied part of the common area. Beside the glowing lake.
"Alright," Kita nods, then heads down the pathway that leads to the marketplace.
Kita slouches over as she makes it up the last step to the marketplace, huffing heavily thanks to her poor stamina. When she raises her head she is greeted by an expansive marketplace. Stalls and stands with food and different ornaments on sale, alongside tipi's selling clothes, weapons, and all the goodies Kita could imagine. It'll be tough for Kita not to spend all of this coin.
Maybe I should have been the one to set up the tent.
She slowly walks past the plethora of stalls selling all sorts of useful items- Making her contemplate a future in which she settles down and decorates a really cute tipi with all of this useless crap she could collect. Figurines and hanging sculptures made of polished stone. With glowing liquid from the lake, flowing in all directions through the stone.
Kita steps up to the table of a stall that catches her attention. And gently places her hands on a… bird. A polished dark stone accents with a purple liquid glow, flowing among its spread wings. It's shaped like that obnoxious one she'd met.
"Many dream of soaring the skies," Says a young, dark-skinned man with short white dreadlocks. He has an amalgamation of turquoise and white robes draped across his body.
"I'm not the dreaming type," Kita responds.
"You gaze at this piece with the eyes of one," He smiles.
"Did you make it?" She asks.
"I did," He nods.
She lifts the piece closer to her face. Casting a soft purple light into her nose as she watches this liquid flow amongst the fine details and patterns of the sculptures.
"What is that stuff?" She asks. "It flows thicker than water,"
"Most believe it stems from the depths of the cave," He lifts a larger one of his sculptures. "It does hydrate us. Some believe it does more,"
"More being…"
"We call it, Vhifet. The next life source. We see it as our world's message to us. One of future abundance. A world better than the one of the old humans. If one is to drink Vhifet, their soul will rejoin our world when the time is right, and they will be chosen to experience the era of Vhifet."
"Hmm," Kita mumbles, in an interested way. "The last thing I would want is to come back here,"
"You're not of faith?" He asks.
"The way of gods is not my concern," She responds.
"I do not mean faith in god. Do you have faith in a good future?"
"I'm not so sure I'll have one," She drops her eye contact. Taken aback by the numbness of her missing soul. Incompleteness trickles through her like an itch she cannot reach. "All that exists is now,"
"Yes, but you are not designed to only perceive now. You need not work for your future but you must believe in it,"
Kita glances up at the guy. He's got a way with words. If Kita was any more downtrodden, she'd have been converted right on the spot. Drinking the slime water and whatever other weird ritual they probably have to get a taste of that faith. But, no faith will get her soul back. To her knowledge, most faiths require their participants to have souls anyway. She's not exactly suited for the lifestyle. The religious system is rigged against the soulless.
"How much for this?" Kita asks, holding up the little Rayn statue. Trying to ignore the idiotic ramblings of her mind.
"Twenty-one coin," He smiles.
"Is a meal included? She asks, raising an eyebrow at the price.
The man laughs, raising his hand to his chest as his head leans back. "Since we had a lovely conversation, I can give it to you for Fifteen,"
Kita chuckles at the man's animated behaviour. "Alright, Fifteen it is,"
She swings her backpack around to her front and reaches in to grab some coin out of a pouch.
"Here you go," She says, taking her hand out from the bag and reaching out to him with fifteen coin in her hand. "Fifteen coin,"
The man reaches his hand out to collect the coin. And in doing so, his fingers collide with Kita's. Inducing a sudden lapse in Kita's vision. She can't see anything, or even feel her body anymore.
There is only darkness.
Read ahead on RoyalRoad [](
Kita's thoughts - Post Chapter 14
submitted by ItsDumi to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 01:49 Quetzhal DIE. RESPAWN. REPEAT. 43

Chapter 1 Prev Next
The ring isn't filling up nearly as quickly as I would like.
The Forest Slimes aren't difficult to kill, exactly. Color Drain nearly instantly takes care of them, although I use it sparingly because it's more taxing to use than my other skills; a well-aimed punch full of Firmament through their heads also seems to do the trick, as long as they don't react in time. If they do, they can split themselves apart before I even hit them.
But it's taxing. It takes all my concentration to keep dodging their attacks. Everything they do is unpredictable — their bodies are nearly completely malleable, and I have to watch out for attacks from nearly every angle. More than once, a Slime nearly catches me off-guard by digging tendrils into the ground and shooting them up towards me.
If it wasn't for Ahkelios' watchful eye, I would have been killed a dozen times over, I suspect.
"Behind you!" the mantis yells out, and I spin around just in time to see a sharp spike of Firmament-enhanced slime headed directly for my head. I twist out of the way, using a last-minute Barrier at an angle to deflect it away from my head; it shatters the Barrier, but it still manages to change its course enough that it scratches my cheek instead of impaling me through the eye.
"Thanks," I say, although I'm so out of breath I barely have the time to breathe the words. Tough Body isn't helping me here — whatever those Forest Slimes are doing, they can reinforce themselves so much that they're cutting through me without much resistance. Barrier provides only the smallest bit of resistance. Crystallized Barrier would help, but it takes a fair bit more concentration and Firmament to use—
"Focus," Ahkelios admonishes me. A second later, he leaps off my head and towards a Forest Slime's attack, and I feel him concentrating a tiny amount of Firmament in his hands and feet; in a split second, he unleashes a spinning kick that ripples down the entire tendril.
There's a moment of resonance, and then the Firmament just falls apart; the tendril falls to the ground as just empty slime, dead and lifeless.
The actual Slime is still perfectly alive right behind him. It makes what I assume is a burble of anger, and then rushes towards him, but not before I step over him and land a Crystallized Strength-boosted punch right in his face. Two Barriers shaped to either side of my fist blast through the Slime as it tries to split apart to dodge my attack, and I watch in grim satisfaction as it collapses to the ground.
"Have you always been able to do that?" I ask, glancing at Ahkelios. The little mantis is wobbling on his feet like he's drunk, and I spare a second to pick him up off the ground before a Slime steps on him. A kick through the head dispatches that one, Triplestep accelerating it enough that it doesn't quite have time to dodge.
"I dunno," Ahkelios says. He clings on to my hair. "Woooow. The colors are pretty."
"Weren't you just telling me to focus?" I say. I pull out a Crystallized Barrier to block three simultaneous bolts of slime, orange-purple-blue splashing violently against the crystalline wall; it cracks, but doesn't break.
"That's right!" Ahkelios agrees immediately, so quickly I'm almost suspicious. "You... you focus. I'm gonna sleep. It's... it's moss time. Comfy, tasty moss."
I don't get a chance to respond to whatever he just said, because he abruptly cuts the connection between us and dispels himself.
Evidently, fighting like that is costly for him. We'll have to figure out a plan for how he can participate in battles, if he wants to. Figure out his exact limits, and whether we can train them—
A whip nearly shreds through the skin of my cheek, and I'm reminded that I'm in the middle of a battle. The translation stone is about half-done, although I'm well out of range of the Firmament bursts and moving ever-further. It seems that the more the obelisk is translated, the larger the bursts get — and in turn, the more Forest Slimes are dragged out of the Firmament in the ground.
I'm nearly surrounded by them, by now, and I grit my teeth. I need a plan. Without Ahkelios to watch my back, my survivability is cut nearly in half; I might pride myself on being perceptive, but I don't have eyes in the back of my head.
Based on the rate the translation stone's ring is filling up — and that thing is hard to see from this distance — it should take another ten minutes. I'll have to fight defensively. There are too many of them for me to be proactive in taking them out, and I still don't have any good area-of-effect options in battle, which is something I'm regretting.
If I have to fight defensively...
I turn tail and run. Might as well have something to my back, and if the edge of the Hotspot is as much a barrier to these Forest Slimes as it is to me, then I won't have to worry about being killed from behind.
If nothing else, this is proving excellent for earning those credits.

The Firmament pulses from the obelisk have almost reached the edge of the Hotspot. I'm alive still, although I'm not exactly at my prime; my breathing is ragged, and I'm not sure how much of that is my being out of breath, and how much of that is the hole in my chest.
At least it's a small hole. I'd managed to slice off the tendril before it did too much damage, and I think Tough Body is keeping me together and alive. I'm not sure how survivable "hole in chest" normally is, but apparently my Firmament-enhanced body can handle it.
What it can't handle are those Firmament pulses. They're getting close enough now that I have barely any room to maneuver, and the time between each pulse has gotten so low it's nearly a constant hum instead of a wave of deadly Firmament. I have a Crystallized Barrier layered around me, and I use Color Drain to take out the worst of the Forest Slimes — dodging is less draining, but I'm not exactly in an ideal position to dodge. Even breathing hurts, let alone moving.
"Come on..." I mutter to myself. I can't tell if the translation stone is done — I can't see it from here — but I can't even approach it as long as the obelisk is this active. I have to hope that the Firmament pulses will die down once it completes, or that the obelisk will simply reset itself before the pulse reaches the boundary of the Hotspot.
Right as I think this, the pulses waver and stop.
I don't hesitate. I'll die if I do — so I pour every effort into going for the obelisk and the translation stone.
I just have to get there before the pulses start up again.
Dodge to the side. Twist to barely avoid a tendril, then duck to avoid a swinging whip. Create a wafer-thin Barrier around my body so I skid, sliding across the dirt and just barely missing not one, not two, but three different Forest Slime projectiles, the last of which splashes onto my Barrier and hisses ominously. Employ Crystallized Strength defensively instead of offensively, leap high and across three different Forest Slimes...
If not for Mental Acceleration, I would be dead three times over.
I can feel Firmament building in front of me, which means I don't have much time before the next pulse. I can also see the completed ring on the translation stone, which means that all I need to do is inject Firmament into it and hope that does something.
I'm not going to get there in time.
All-Seeing Eye. Firestep. Triplestep.
They're two different Speed skills, which makes it easier to see how to combine them even without Intuitive Analysis. With it, merging them is almost pitifully easy, so much so I wonder how I hadn't seen it before. I suppose that's the point of the Eye.
[ A new Skill Fusion has been found. Would you like to log the results into the Interface? ]
[ Accelerate (Rank C) obtained! ]
It's the last boost of speed I need. I feel Accelerate's Firmament wrap around me when I use the skill, blasting me forward in combination with Triplestep and Firestep and leaving a streak of flame floating in the air; it's so much faster than what I'm used to that I nearly shoot right past my target. I slow down a second before I do so, brushing my fingers across the translation stone and using Firmament Manipulation to inject a burst of Firmament directly into its core.
Please let Mari be right.
Several things happen all at once.
First, the pulse from the obelisk dies down, and I sigh internally with relief — I will not add evaporation to my list of experienced deaths today.
Second, the translation stone shines brightly with Firmament. I feel that Firmament reach out and connecting with my own, granting me understanding; suddenly, the glyphs on the obelisk go from nonsensical to understandable.
Third, a different pulse starts up. This one travels from the translation stone into the obelisk, and I feel it resonating with a different kind of Firmament. Intuitive Analysis tells me whatever it is, it probably isn't deadly — but that doesn't matter, because as the obelisk begins to resonate, it cracks, and I haven't had the time to read the darn thing.
Time for a rapid, split-second decision.
[ Are you sure you wish to bank 132 Strength credits? ]
[ 132 Strength credits banked! Rolling for results... ]
[ Select between:
Primal Fist (Rank B)
Concentrated Power (Rank B)
Crack the Skies (Rank A) ]
[ You have unlocked an Inspiration. Bonus will commence once skill selection has taken place. ]
The cracks are spreading. I need to choose quickly. Intuitive Analysis kicks in.
Primal Fist is simple. It's a skill that fills my arms with Primal Firmament, not that I know what that means; what I do know is that it's a magnitude stronger than Crystallized Strength. A basic upgrade, with potential down the line for me to figure out what I can do with Primal Firmament.
Concentrated Power is interesting. It allows me to essentially build up power for as long as I can concentrate on the skill, with an upper bound that's roughly equivalent to an S-rank skill if I'm willing to concentrate for several days.
Crack the Skies has more vaguely defined limits than the other two. For one blow, it gives me enough strength to 'crack the skies' — defined as a sonic boom.
Crack the Skies is the most powerful, but Concentrated Power has the greatest versatility. It synergizes well with the time loop and my ability to prepare, even if waiting to build up power sounds aggressively boring. More than that, Intuitive Analysis tells me it should be able to combine with nearly any other skill if I use it in combination with the Eye, allowing me to empower almost everything given time to prepare.
I'm still tempted to pick Crack the Skies, because raw, immediate power is tempting, but I grit my teeth and choose.
[ Concentrated Power (Rank B) obtained! ]
[ Inspiration commencing. ]
The world freezes around me. The obelisk is intact, though the whole structure is run through with tiny cracks — but the translation stone's effects are still active, and I can read.
I breathe a sigh of relief, and start scanning through what it says.
Chapter 1 Prev Next
Author's Notes: It's like one of those survival rounds in video games! Mental Acceleration helped Ethan out at the end there, or he wouldn't have had the time to think.
I'm still getting the hang of things post-job, but I should be able to ramp up chapters (and take my other story off hiatus, if you're following that one) pretty soon.
Looots of things coming up soon. Here's the RoyalRoad link, and Patreon's all the way up to Chapter 51 if you want to read ahead.
Also here's some gift art from Toast again - here and here. I love them. Poor Ethan!
submitted by Quetzhal to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 00:15 ralo_ramone An Otherworldly Scholar [LitRPG, Isekai] - Chapter 10

“I’d warn you, I'm not as much of a catch as you think I am. In practical terms, I have more kids than you can count on two hands.“ Elincia said with a mischievous smile.
It had been a mistake to ask Elincia if she had suitors lining at her door because she had been having a field day with me. I could tell she was enjoying it.
“A small army of kids and easily triggered, gotcha.” I replied.
The tight breeches and adjusted bodice combo was entrancing for a fantasy nerd like me, but I managed to maintain a defiant look.
Elincia smiled at me, knowing she had won our verbal exchange and walked to her dresser while humming a sweet melody. After seeing the bundles of herbs, her mood had improved dramatically, making her even more annoying than usual.
I watched her lean forward as she rummaged through the depths of the drawers. The light blue bodice fit her well, however, I was having trouble reconciling the image of the rowdy amazon with her caring governess persona.
Elincia uttered a muffled curse before pulling a small wooden box and a set of brass scales covered in strange engravings. I did my best to keep my eyes on the scales rather than her shoulders. Elincia seemed to be unfazed by the chilly autumn weather. I focused on the brass scales and instantly detected an almost invisible trace of mana.
Elincia noted I was staring because she quickly said. “A poor governess has the right to have nice toys, you know?”
“An enchanted item?” I asked, putting my empty bowl of soup by the side and glancing at the scale as Elincia lined the plates up on the table.
“You could say it’s an heirloom.” Elincia replied as she ceremoniously opened the wooden box and extracted a set of five small crystals the size of dice, wrapped in silk handkerchiefs.
As soon as Elincia uncovered the crystals I noticed they weren’t regular minerals. Swirls of white mana particles danced inside them like diminutive galaxies. Despite the crystals being the same size, they shone with different intensities. The first one barely emitted any mana while the last one was like a small white ember.
“I assume Mister Scholar already knows how this works?” Elincia grinned.
The better her mood was, the more annoying she got.
“You put one item on each plate, then the heavier item drops, the lighter rises. You can measure the weight of an item balancing it against known weights. Obviously.” I replied.
“Obviously.” Elincia parroted as she reached for the herb bundles.
Elkadia Root. [Identify] Alchemy ingredient. Brewing ingredient. Cooking ingredient. Edible. Magic concentration: High.
Fairy King’s Brooch. [Identify] Alchemy ingredient. Brewing ingredient. Edible Magic concentration: High.
Moon Laurel. [Identify] Alchemy ingredient. Brewing ingredient. Cooking ingredient. Edible. Magic concentration: High.
Barrel Root. [Identify] Alchemy ingredient. Brewing ingredient. Cooking ingredient. Edible. Magic concentration: High.
“Well, let’s figure out what we are working with.” Elincia said, putting the third crystal on the left plate of the scale and a single stem of Fairy King’s Brooch on the other.
Surprisingly enough, the ‘weight’ of the plant was enough to offset the crystal despite the difference in sizes. It wasn’t hard to understand how the scale worked. It weighted magic concentration, not mass.
“All the herbs have high magic concentration.” I pointed out. If Elincia was going to measure every single stem, flower, and leaf, we were going to be sitting there for hours.
“Obviously the Hero is lucky enough to just pick the high concentration ones.” Elincia mockingly said. Her smile faltered a bit when I laid back in my seat and watched her with my best goofball smile instead of taking the bait.
Elincia scowled at me before focusing on measuring the ingredients. The movements of her hands revealed the mastery she had over the process and I wondered how many times she had measured ingredients along the years. If kids were as sickly as they were in my world, then the amount of potions she had brewed must be astronomical.
I stretched my back and let my mind wander. Eating a warm bowl of food felt good after days of eating only a few Hermit’s Gold, and being inside four walls felt cozy and safe after sleeping in the Farlands. For the first time since my arrival I had a moment to think about my next steps.
The idea of traveling to the Imperial Library to cultivate my class, as Elincia told me back in the Farlands, popped into my mind.
“Do you have a skill to replicate the explosive powder inside my shotgun shells?” I mindlessly asked. You couldn’t spell ‘alchemist’ without ‘chemist’ after all. The perspective of having a continuous supply of ammo in a world controlled by high level combatant classes was reassuring.
“I’m an Alchemist, I brew potions, ointments, and essences.” Elincia replied without taking her eyes off her work. “What you are looking for is a Transmuter or a Tinkerer, maybe. A Runesmith could also help you with that, but those are Prestige Classes. You are not going to find them here in Farcrest.”
Prestige Classes. That was a new concept. Elinica had already mentioned Advanced Classes, Alchemist was one of them. I wondered about how I could inquire about them without revealing my complete ignorance about the matter of this world.
“What the hell?” Elincia suddenly muttered. Her face grew more and more surprised as the ingredients’ magical concentration offset every crystal except the brightest one. She stubbornly continued measuring the bundles until she finished with the Fairy King’s Brooch.
“What are these plants used for?” I asked instead of saying ‘I told you’.
[Identify] wasn’t enough to answer all my questions.
“Elkadia Root and Fairy King’s Brooch are popular bases for mana potions and a wide range of medicines against common diseases. The Moon Laurel and the Barrel Root are used as bases for wound regeneration potions. You usually add an essence later on in the brewing process but the base is useful on its own.” Elincia glanced at me as she put the Fairy King’s Brooch by the side.
“Why would anyone brew a potion without an essence?” I continued with the questionnaire. At least Elincia seemed happy to answer my questions regarding her class.
“Low level Alchemists don’t normally add essences into their potions due to the risk of corrupting the base.” Elincia replied with a teacher’s tone as she continued to weigh the ingredients. “You usually won’t see the really top shelf stuff until your alchemist is level forty or more, but don’t be fooled, low level brewing is useful too. Most people can’t really afford high level potions so low level Alchemists are the real saviors of the working class.”
Elincia’s passion for her class was starting to rub off on me, making me wish I had a crafting class like her. I wondered what I could create with my knowledge of the modern world and a class like Tinkerer or Runesmith. Even if Scholars couldn’t really craft anything useful, I could meet talented people that could.
Elincia’s voice brought me back to the present.
“The more mana involved, the harder the brewing process is. For that reason, low level Alchemists are limited to brewing low and mid grade base potions. You know, the basic recipes provided by the System.” Elincia continued explaining as she measured the ingredients. “Man, I wish I could brew a Named Potion some day.” She added with a wishful voice.
It seemed that Elincia did not just dream of forests and mountains.
“A Named Potion?” I asked.
“Yes, like a brand new recipe that the System acknowledges as my own creation. I’m talking about something neat like ‘Elincia’s Tracking Potion’ or ‘Elincia’s Monster Repel’.” Elincia explained with the same hopeful voice.
I was wrong. Elincia’s alchemy dreams weren’t far from her love for the wilderness.
“Anyway, I’ll take half the Fairy King’s Brooch as a reward for escorting you here. I don’t know what Scholar trick you used to pick only high concentration ones but it will be more than enough to brew medicine.”
I was hoping to see Elincia brewing a potion but instead, she tied half the bundle of Fairy King’s Brooch and put it inside a flask. Then she put the flask away in a drawer among many other Alchemy ingredients. Elincia seemed to ignore basic information about Scholars like the fact I could use [Identify] to detect ingredients with high mana concentration so I was inclined to think classes kept their skills to themselves.
As Elincia put the Fairy King’s Brooch away, I separated each bundle in two halves; one for me and one for her.
“For the soap, the shirt, and the food.” I said as Elincia gave me a questioning look.
I hoped Elincia realized she had helped me more than I could ever repay her.
“And for the Common classes.” I added, remembering my newest title.
Elincia shook her head. “It’s too much. These are high quality ingredients from the Farlands. They are a precious resource in the hands of a competent Alchemist.” Elincia said, refusing to accept them.
“Consider it a donation and a token of friendship. For the kids. To replenish the potions you used in the Farlands.” I dismissed Elincia’s further objections with a movement of my hand.
“You can’t be serious. This is a lot.” Elincia said. Then, she realized how serious I was and a parade of emotions flashed through her face before she grabbed the half-bundles and tucked them into ingredient flasks. Surprise, relief, shame.
“Thank you, Robert Clarke. For everything.” Elincia sheepishly said as she returned from her ingredient rack at the opposite side of the bedroom.
“My friends call me Rob.” I smiled back. It felt good to be of some use for the orphanage.
Elincia gave me a charming smile before speaking again.
“Go to the Great Hall to ask for a passage permit, Rob, then go to the southern gate and jump on a merchant caravan. I’m sure the Sages from the Library are going to be thrilled to have you.” Elincia said.
“Are you sure you don’t need help with the kids now that Holst is gone?” I asked as I stood up, following her cue. Taking care of a dozen small kids sounded like a hell of a task for a single person.
Elincia raised an eyebrow.
“I got the Governess title years ago, Rob. Even the System knows I have things under control.” The woman said, putting a hand on my shoulder and pushing me towards the door. “ZAON, COME HERE!”.
The elven boy peeked through the dormitory door in a blink of an eye, which made me think he was already in the corridor when Elincia called.
“Did you call me, Miss Elincia?” The boy asked.
“Go to the kitchen and pack some bread and cheese for Mister Clarke. He’s departing for a long trip. Quick!” Elincia said and Zaon instantly disappeared. Then, Elincia guided me back to the main entrance where we waited for the kid to return.
“It was good to meet you.” I said, extending my hand. “If I find Holst in the Imperial Library, I'll make sure to send him your regards.”
Elincia gave me one of her trademark wicked smiles and shook my hand. I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad, she was the first person I had met in this world and despite the initial difficulties, I had grown fond of her and her unapologetic style.
“If you ever visit Firecrest again you are more than welcome to stay with us.” Elincia said. Maybe it was my imagination but I detected a hint of sadness in her voice. Even if we had only known each other for a few days, we had hit it off considerably well. Surely Elincia had a temper but I recognized it was part of her charm.
“And if I manage to replicate a shotgun, I’ll send you one plus a box of ammo.” I said, imitating her wicked smile.
“Now you’re talking!” Elincia beamed as Zaon appeared from the corridor carrying a big satchel. Our time was over.
“Goodbye, Elicia.”
“Goodbye Robert Clarke, it was nice to know you.”
You have obtained Denial Lv.4. Temporary.
Zaon walked by my side through the deserted streets, silently humming the same sweet song Elincia sang as she used the magical scale. The elven boy was shy and stuttered a lot but his curiosity was stronger than his withdrawn personality. My [Teacher’s Sense] told me Zaon was the kind of kid that shined in small classrooms where he could speak freely.
[Awareness]: You don’t possess a skill called [Teacher’s Sense], stop fooling around.
Did I just detect a hint of jealousy?
Maybe [Teacher’s Sense] wasn’t a real skill but I liked to think I had developed something like that after years working as a teacher. Most of my colleagues loved to hear their own voices instead of listening to their students. Then, they acted surprised when something bad happened.
I tried not to think about my past and focused on the present.
My shoes clacked against the polished cobblestone of the streets. More than half of the stone bricks were missing and rainwater accumulated in the holes left behind. The putrid smell of stagnant water filled my nostrils but Zaon was unfazed. He must've already gotten used to it.
As we climbed the step road, the precarious buildings of the northern district turned into well preserved houses and clean streets. Mold and rust turned into fresh white paint and varnished planks. Rotten and splintered shutters were replaced by clear glass windows. The eerie and abandoned atmosphere was replaced by lively and wide streets full of stores and workshops.
“How old are you, Zaon?” I asked as we left behind the narrow alleys of the north district. For some reason, Zaon didn’t speak unless prompted to.
“Fourteen. I’ll be fifteen during the winter and I'll be able to get a Class before the year ends.” He said, dejected.
It didn’t take a genius to realize something bothered him.
“Is there a problem with that? Having a Class is great, look at Miss Rosebud, she can brew handy potions because she’s an Alchemist.” I pointed out. I knew a few people who would die to achieve a class, whatever it was.
Zaon gave a disheartened sigh before answering. “I want to become a Knight and then a Paladin but I’ll probably end up as a lowly Soldier.”
The pieces of the puzzle regarding Class acquisition were starting to fall in place.
“Miss Rosebud told me she chose to be an Alchemist. Why do you think you’ll end up as a Soldier?” I asked.
Zaon sighed again and dropped his shoulders.
“I am not as talented as Miss Elincia, and Mister Holst said I’m not Knight material, so I’ll probably end up as a Soldier because there is basically no requirement to become a Soldier.” Zaon kicked a pebble out of the road.
Requirements. It made sense the System had requirements for certain classes, otherwise everyone would be a Mega Black-knight of Death or something along those lines.
“What’s wrong with Soldiers?” I asked.
“Is this some sort of test? Everyone knows what’s wrong with Soldiers and Archers.” Zaon said.
“I want to know why you believe the Soldier Class isn’t good, not the popular opinion.” I deflected Zaon’s suspicions using my high level [Teacher’s Bullshido]. Truth was, I was completely ignorant as to why the Soldier Class was looked down on. If I had to guess, a level 5 Soldier had the prowess to kick my Scholar ass any day of the week.
Zaon tapped on his lips with his fingers just like Elincia did when she was deep in thought.
“Well… the Soldier Class has the worst growths of all combatant classes, their mana pool is shallow as a puddle, and their skills aren’t really powerful. Even Blacksmiths have better Strength and Mana!” Zaon said, raising a finger for each con of the class. “Mister Holst says that the System reserves powerful classes for the nobility and really talented individuals.”
I nodded in silence trying to hide my inner turmoil from Zaon. My hatred for Holst was growing by the second. As if endangering the kids wasn’t enough, Holst had also been feeding them world-class bullshit. There was no more vicious practice than a teacher telling a student they were dumb and incapable of improving.
“Do you know why some people can become Knights and others can’t?” I asked.
Zaon seemed to assume that I was testing his knowledge.
“No, nobody knows. The System just offers you a Class according to the contents of your soul.” The elven kid replied.
“Then you should trust yourself a bit more, Zaon.” I smiled. “You were brave and determined by taking care of the younger kids during Miss Elincia’s absence. Maybe you are not as far from your goals as you believe.”
Zaon guided me in silence through the meandering streets of Farcrest. As we walked towards the southern district, the city continued to change. From the abandoned streets of the northern district to the bustling with activity of the inner city.
Stores lined up on both sides of the streets, offering their alluring goods from behind their windows. Horse drawn wagons loaded with crates traveled up and down making deliveries to stores and workshops alike.
Along the sidewalks, fine ladies and gentlemen walked up and down the street, hopping from store to store. Most of the inhabitants of Farcrest were humans but I noticed a few half orcs, half elves, and small gnome-like people from time to time.
The Great Hall towered by the end of the street like a black sturdy stone golem overseeing the market. In the same fashion of the walls, the Great Hall had been built to last. I wondered if the black stone had magical properties.
“You don’t believe me.” I pointed out as we emerged into a wide street, a few blocks from the inner wall.
“I wouldn’t say that.” Zaon replied but his tone betrayed him.
I stopped before entering the traffic on the main avenue and dug into my backpack.
“Take these ingredients to Elincia and tell her to brew some potions to help your training, I’m sure she will assist you the best she could if you tell her you want to become a Knight.” I said. “I can see the Great Hall from here. You can go back to the orphanage.”
Zaon grabbed the bundles, nodded, and got lost in the maze of streets. I glanced at the alley from which he had disappeared for a moment and turned around to face the Great Hall, wishing good fortune to all the inhabitants of the orphanage.
First Prev Next (Patreon) Next
Discord Royal Road Patreon
submitted by ralo_ramone to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 22:38 Dr_Apperpixion If You See It, It Is Too Late!

I never met my birth parents. They both died on a job when I was a baby, and I went into foster care. I didn’t have any interest in knowing anything about them; my adoptive parents are the ones who raised me.
However, everything changed a week ago when a group of men came knocking at my door. They wore what looked like military uniforms, but instead of the usual green, they wore a distinct red color instead. They loaded me, along with my foster parents into an unmarked matching red van. We were rushed to a farmhouse on the opposite side of Washington where the facility was heavily guarded with intimidating men and unfamiliar machines that appeared like they required several men to operate.
Being an IT major, I had no knowledge nor interest in these things. I’m not a runner, fighter or a strategist, so I couldn’t fathom what they wanted from me.
They relentlessly interrogated me for three days, bombarding me with questions and then, when they concluded that I was blissfully unaware, intimidated me with frightening information. Dumbfounded, I soaked in every ounce of knowledge they offered me. The new knowledge I gained made me see my parents in a new terrifying light. I couldn’t help but feel more resentment, adding on to the existing resentment I harboured. My parents not only betrayed themselves, but me as well and part of me feared that I would never be safe again. I couldn’t help but feel manipulated. They were long gone, but their past still controlled my fate.
I was eventually uprooted to a secondary protective facility, one in which I was not permitted to know the location of. For my own safety, they assured me. Once settled, they supplied me with new electronics and destroyed my old ones. They warned me that I was to stay under the radar, completely untraceable. Again, for my own protection. I was confident that given my knowledge of IT, software engineering and cyber security, I would remain unseen and untraceable to anyone who might be hunting me.
Now that I am sure I am safe, I can finally write this message and warn anyone connected to the initial bloodlines involved. It is crucial for my message to reach you.
The story begins with my biological grandfather. He worked for a branch of the government closely related to NASA. Following the moon landing there was a great deal of classified developments that the population was oblivious to. The department my grandfather worked for protecting the world against extra-terrestrial threats or extra-terrestrial terrorism as they described it.
Paranoia gripped them after the moon landing and they took drastic measures to prepare. Five years later, they deciphered the first communications and signals from frequencies previously unknown to them. These signals were so powerful that they destroyed entire systems, disrupted the power grid and took down entire radio stations. This special branch of government discovered they could tap into these signals which revealed that our galaxy has been under constant surveillance. This was ironically discovered by extra-terrestrials working within this branch, tasked to monitor and prevent extra-terrestrial terrorism on a much larger scale.
At this point in their story, the soldiers were reluctant to divulge more. Insisting that they already revealed too much. But I demanded full transparency, refusing to cooperate with their equivocation. It was essential that I know my involvement in these matters. So, they continued, placing a huge box in front of me, overflowing with papers. They swiftly unveiled its contents to me, Stacks of documents and old tapes they tossed onto the table, one after the another.
The documents contained, amongst others, details of weapons the organisation, known as ESA were crafting and testing along with formulas to create immensely powerful weapons. They used advanced calculations to try and manufacture better equipment that could be sent up to space. They were doing this undisclosed, to monitor and learn as much as they could.
The ESA spent millions designing and building a spacecraft to contain their equipment, if the situation ever called for it. It is still a work in progress. All of this is actively happening, the documents and footage stamped up until a week ago.
I opened a document with a list of classified individuals who had this information. Presidents, EU members, a handful of the rich and powerful, who used this information to design and construct underground bunkers, granting that, if anything were to ever happen, they’d be prepared. These aren’t a new concept though, the extremely rich and powerful have been known to publicly sponsor new technological advancements. Well some may think this gave them the upper hand, it eventually proved their foolishness.
The following is what I saw in the most crucial videos:
Video 1: dated 1975 The video opens in an empty cell, appearing to be a reinforced holding chamber. At first, the room is dark, then the spotlights switch on, illuminating the centre of the room. Now in the light, I could clearly make out what looked like a reinforced metal wall with chains protruding from it. The focus shifts to the back of the room where a large door opens and something is dragged in a sheet, concealing its identity, and tied down with thick chains. The video ends.
Video 2: June 1975 I saw about 20 armed men entered the room and start to unwrap the sheet from what they hauled in. After several minutes of unwrapping, the identity of the thing they brought in is revealed.
There seemed to be a glitch in the recording, at different points in the video the screen was covered in static. The sound was muted, and the figure was hard to make out. It appeared that the creature was attempting to change shape, vibrating as if to phase into a different shape. Despite its best attempts, it remained unsuccessful and reverted back to its original form. .
Video 3: the very next day wnd June 1975
The video opens with the creature fully in focus. Within the 18 hours of footage, the creature is constantly seen attempting to change form. It fails every time, but that doesn’t prevent it from trying again. It looks like a blur, occasionally a second head or what appears to be a human hand. It’s apparent the creature has shapeshifting abilities.
The next 200 videos are identical. To the naked eye, it seemed like a loop. But it wasn’t. The creature was, however, relentless in its attempt to free itself or escape.
Video 204: October 1975
This time the alien appeared to be asleep, head limp and no movement. This video had sound, but it was accompanied by a high pitch buzz that made my ears hurt. At the six-hour mark, the faint cry of a baby can be heard before gradually escalating into full-blown screaming.
At first I suspected that one of the scientists had brought their child along, but the agents assured me the crying was coming from the creature. As the video progresses, the cries grow louder and more demanding, eventually accompanied by a deep voice. Close to the end of the video, 22 hours in, multiple voices begin to scream simultaneously, causing everything to shake.
The documents show that, after this incident, the cage was reinforced. The next few videos are static, proving that the creature has the uncanny ability to manipulate video and disrupt frequencies.
Video 340 February 1982
The creature, with its brown discoloration, possessed crocodile like scales and an eagle like head, but it was entirely reptilian in nature. It stood at a whopping 12 feet tall and was covered in an unknown slime like substance.
The chains were substantially thicker than they were years earlier, and the cage has been fortified. It looked like a different room altogether.
The agents explained that the creature got loose and attacked 12 soldiers, absorbing them into itself instead of merely killing or eating them.
The creature was taken to Nevada, close to the desert, where a strong armoured underground structure had been constructed, far from civilization. The facility has been equipped with high level security precautions which allowed sections of the building to be sealed off and rigged to explode, guaranteeing that, if necessary, the building would collapse in on itself, trapping the creature within its cage, underneath the rubble.
The creature mirrored the image I conjured up in my head when I pictured the devil; brown, scaly, a demonic voice. The eyes were its most terrifying feature, shaped like that of a reptilian, but blood red. I counted 4 horns on its head, and it bore a pair of nasty fangs. Its feet bore the resemblance of a dinosaur, but it lacked a tale. Once the creature was no longer phasing in and out, it settled on a more consistent appearance, one that was easier to recognize.
Video 341 February 1982
This video marked the first appearance of my grandfather. He entered, along with four other men in lab coats, carrying a large syringe, approximately the size of my arm. He stuck it into the beast’s heart, causing it to instantly fall into a deep sleep. He proceeded to connect various machines onto the slumbering creature, attaching electrodes to its head and chest which were linked to a sizeable computer or something that resembled a computer. The video cuts off after this, leaving us to guess what occurred next.
Video 343 February 1982 The lights in the room were far brighter than before, and it once again lacked the presence of sound. The reason for this remained unknown.
Within the room stood a table filled with an assortment of equipment that appeared to be severely damaged. The lights flickered at intervals, and the creature began to phase in and out once more. This made it difficult to distinguish its appearance amid the static moments and blurred movements. The scientists observed the creature a safe distance away.
The scientists were relying on a certain frequency they discovered to keep the creature at bay. It seemed to produce positive results for the next few videos.
The videos that followed held a similar pattern. The creature remained silent, wired to machines while people came in and out taking notes or the occasional blood or slime sample. The creature remained composed, not once attempting to shift or escape again.
According to the agents’ records, everything proceeded as planned. My grandfather welcomed his first son, my father in 1975, he subsequently resumed his project until his resignation in 2008 when he was 55. A year later, he had a fatal heart attack, my grandmother following soot. My father was 34.
My father and his younger brother began working for ESA in 2004, when they were 28 and 24. New technological advancements introduced better cameras and electronic equipment for testing purposes. Since the technology became so advanced, their visits to the cage became as infrequent as once a week, or even less often. With new needles, enhanced equipment and upgraded data collection, the project transferred to electronic records ushering changes in the filing system.
While we waited for my transportation, they shared more classified documents. According to the notes, the once wild and violent creature was now unrecognisably tame and responsive, even answering questions. It remained unclear whether they had intentionally provoked it or stumbled upon a means to subdue it.
The circumstances surrounding my birth were strange. My dad impregnated a college classmate, and they made the mutual decision to put me up for adoption since neither of them had the desire to raise a child. My mother was studying biology and my father, a young genius physicist that found it hard to understand basic human interaction as it was. According to my foster parents, I was born in 2000, but the data I was presented proved I was born two years prior. This revelation had a more profound effect on me than anything else I’d seen.
Regardless, I was immediately given up for adoption and my existence was all but forgotten about. My adoptive parents moved to Iowa, and that’s where I lived up until 2018 when I left for Harvard. I always wondered what my birth parents were like. My adoptive parents told me I was a genius and speculated that I inherited my brain from somewhere. It’s an uncanny feeling; the knowledge that every aspect of my life was monitored.
The videos documenting the creature continued for the next 6 years. It became routine, apart from the indistinct chatter from the observing scientists and other government employees. There were no other sounds, incidents or noteworthy occurrences.
The tests revealed that the creature’s biology was predominantly alien, with no genetic material in common with humans. The scientists highlighted the alarming fact that the creature’s DNA was ever changing, resulting in frequent sample collection and analysis.
They concluded that, the creature was still a baby at the time of capture, which made it easier to contain. They did, however, underestimate its shocking growth rate which resulted in the deaths of the 12 soldiers’ years prior. At the time, it was still in its adolescent phase. Further research uncovered that the creature had the unique ability to absorb the genetic material of the men it came into contact with. The more humans it absorbed, the more diverse its gene pool became. A portion of the genes obtained gradually became more similar to those observed in humans. It’s as if the creature dove into an immense pool of genes and, as it absorbed more humans, its genetic makeup gradually began to adopt more human like qualities. Although difficult to comprehend at first, the basic explanation is that with every absorption of genetic information, the creature’s genetic composition seemed to evolve, storing human qualities within its own gene and gradually becoming more human-like That is my understanding of it.
Which brings me to the final video they have. Prepare yourselves.
Video: mov5078436b The creature behaved normally before viewing was disrupted by static. Among the sudden legion of voices, it echoed my father’s name, simultaneously expanding in size which causes the surroundings to convulse. Alarms resounded, piercing the silence as the creature tugged at its chains, cracking the floor ceiling in its attempt to break free. An ear splitting roar escaped its mouth as hordes of armoured soldiers rushed the cage, massive tasers in hand. They zapped the creature at maximum voltage as it continued to roar, lights flickering excessively. The camera feed is interrupted again by bouts of static.
A second group arrived, armed heavily with guns, increasing the crowd to a total of 30. The gunfire was so severe that it affected the video’s audio. One of the chains bound to the roof of the cage had already broken loose by the time the third group of soldiers arrived. This group carried a machine emitting bursts of fire, which had no effect on the creature aside from antagonizing it. It releases a powerful blast from its hand, causing the room to tremble which shattered the bulletproof glass into millions of pieces and sent the men flying across the room. Both of the creature’s hands were now free, and it began to morph.
Finally, a fourth group arrived in heavily armoured suits, unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. They wielded lasers and what appeared to be a concentrated lightning gun. I was grateful they hadn’t made use of nuclear weapons which would have wiped everyone out. After every attempt, the creature remained standing. Now it was his turn.
The creature freed itself from the remaining shackles and unleashed a blast with both its hands. All that was left of the solders was a gruesome mess of blood where they stood. The air filled with a haunting scream that echoed throughout the halls. The creature released a menacing growl in the form of words that sent chills down my spine, “Dennis McCarthy”, my father’s name.
Right before the camera blacked out, I could have sworn he was in the brink of morphing into a human form, but the recording was cut short by the thunderous detonation of explosions that sent the building into destruction, burying the truth within its rubble.
The scientists, including my dad, were taken by the ESA (extra-terrestrial security agency) and hidden in a heavily guarded underground haven. They were issued new identities and relocated, which isn’t a new concept for the government.
As far as the drones’ visual feed could capture, the entire operation was terminated, leaving behind the collapsed and buried ruins of a facility that was once fully functional. It was under strict surveillance for any signs of life, but as the years rolled by, complacency set in, compromising their once strict security measures.
My father, uncle and the rest of the scientists assumed new lives and identities. As far as the rest of the world was concerned, they were dead.
In 2010, an unexpected interruption occurred. Reports indicated that the drones simultaneously malfunctioned, and the video feed erupted into static. A team arrived at the site to find it disrupted, all the drones lay in scattered heaps across the landscape.
Before anyone could investigate or react, all communication with the agents safeguarding the scientists was abruptly terminated. One be one, the connections were severed, leaving them permanently unreachable. When they reached my father’s safe house, they were greeted with his spine-chilling absence. He had vanished without so much as a trace that he had ever been there to begin with—no signs of struggle or any shred of evidence left behind. He was lost in an infinite void of mystery. The only indication that something was amiss was the eerie blue glow invading the monitors moments before blackout. The only accurate word for it would be ‘suction’, leading the team to believe that they had been absorbed. It remained a speculation, though plausible enough to send waves of panic up their spines.
As we speak governments around the world have been swept up into the desperate search to locate the alien as well as training an elite group of drone pilots and soldiers in an attempt to confront and defeat the elusive entity. Furthermore, every effort at locating surviving relatives of the missing scientists, including my father, had fallen short. They too had vanished into an infinite cloud of mystery, not one left unscathed to provide answers.
Considering the site’s altered state, the complete destruction of the drones and the fact that the creature they had held captive was constantly evolving, they were profoundly aware of the unravelling truth.
I am the sole living descendent of the scientists that worked for ESA. The creature has made it his mission to eliminate any and all traces of their existence. This is the sole reason I was upended from my life and relocated to a heavily guarded facility, and this is the reason I feel compelled to share their stories.
I couldn’t comprehend why the creature would hunt me since I didn’t share the sins of my father, but I felt paranoid and vigilant regardless. I couldn’t help but feel compelled to look into the disappearances myself, perhaps due to some lingering hopes that the information was wrong. My pursuit for answers turned up nothing, not even social media accounts. It was as if any trace of their existence was utterly obliterated, there was no digital footprint left.
The reason I am now convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that my life is in danger is because I have started catching glimpses of subtle movements in my peripheral, a shadowy figure lurking around the premises, disruptions in the signal of my appliances, even the phone I am using right now.
Call me foolish for even relying on the very technology that might lead to my demise, but I felt compelled to warn anyone else who might be a descendent of the team that worked for ESA: project corrosion.
If you’re aware then heed my words and flee. If you are unaware, observe the news for any sudden or unexplained disappearances, and I regret to inform you but, if you come across the creature then it’s too late.
Stay safe my friends
submitted by Dr_Apperpixion to scarystories [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 22:06 AslandusTheLaster This Isekai Story has been brought to you by Baffle (tm) (c) (all rights reserved)

[WP] Using advanced technology, you've escaped this world to a pocket dimension of your own design. Farewell global problems, hello paradise! However, as you settle into your perfect world, you start to notice more and more things You don't know how, but something's wrong. (link)
The outer box was quite mundane, just brown cardboard with a sticker on it. Inside that box, however, was another box with the actual company logo and an image of the product: The Nu-World Machine, brought to you by Baffle.
Finally, I'd be able to escape this drab corporate dystopia I lived in and live in the high fantasy world of my dreams. The instructions for setting up the device were simple enough, though it was a bit strange that it expected me to input my credit card information. I mean, I'd already bought the device, what could they possibly need that for? I just skipped that step, it probably wasn't important, and it still seemed to work without it.
The parameters were fairly in-depth, but I stuck to the things I could understand. Humanity: Enabled. Civilization: Yes. Technology level: Medieval. Magic: Alchemy, Mysticism, Hexes, Divinity. Megafauna: Enabled... All the stuff would need for a decent fantasy world. I took note of the "User Death" setting, which was disabled by default. It included options like "Ejection" and "World shift", but I ultimately went with the "Resurrection" option.
The device whirred for several minutes before letting out a buzzing sound. A long antenna extended from the body of the device, firing off a small mote of light that grew into a portal. I nearly rushed right in, but then remembered to strap the watch-shaped remote control onto my wrist so I could still use the device while within the world. While I didn't plan to return if the new world turned out to be great, I didn't want to cut off that option until I found it out. Finally, I stepped through the portal and into my new home.
The sun was shining overhead, and I was now surrounded by a bunch of people chanting in robes.
"Huzzah! The Hero has arrived!" a robed man said, before being hushed by one of his compatriots.
An older robed man with a long white beard stepped forward, giving a small bow before speaking.
"Chosen hero, sent by the gods, we must ask your help with our plight! A terrible foe has appeared, and is rending our world asunder!" the old man said.
"Sure, just point the way!" I said, eager to get on my quest.
"First you must go to the temple and claim the holy blade!" The old man said.
"Right, on my way!" I said, rushing straight out of the darkened room. The sky was purple, with swirling clouds overhead, and there was a strange man standing outside wearing a very out-of-place outfit, including a checkered suit and top hat bearing the Baffle Logo.
"Hello there!" he said. I ignored him and walked directly to the temple, since that was where my quest led.
The temple was nearly empty, save for the sword and the woman standing behind it.
"O lo, hero! Take up your blade so you may begin your quest!" the woman said. The robe she was wearing barely stayed on her body as she gestured toward the sword. I reached out and picked up the sword, which felt... Like a perfectly normal sword.
"Are you sure this is the sword of legend? I assumed it would be magic or something..." I said.
"Yes, hero. The blade thirsts for a virgin sacrifice, and I have been chosen as yours... Please, strike me down so you may liberate our world from the eternal night!" the woman said, turning away from me and lowering her robe to expose her back.
"I... I don't know if I'm comfortable with that," I said.
"But you must! The Emperor of Darkness can't be beaten without it!" she said.
"Golly gosh, that sure is a pickle!" a familiar voice said.
I turned my head just in time to see the garishly dressed man throw an arm over my shoulder.
"Hello dear customer, I'm your Baffle representative, so you can call me Mr. Baffle. Thank you for purchasing the Nu-World Machine! It appears you haven't input your credit card information, which will make it a bit harder to do your quest," Mr. Baffle said.
"What? Credit card? Oh dammit, is this some kind of skinner box trick?" I asked.
"No tricks here! Just a bit of a... cheat, if you will," the representative said. "Just look at this poor girl, adorable isn't she? Look at those curly locks and that angelic face."
The posh man walked over and pinched the woman's cheek, turning her head so she was looking me right in the eye. She didn't seem to register his presence at all, but I could see plainly that she looked terrified and had a few tears in her eyes. I got the feeling that she hadn't exactly volunteered for the whole sacrifice thing.
"It sure is a shame that she has to die, isn't it? But you can't exactly just murder some rando off the street and still be a hero, can you?" he asked. "If only there was some way to get past this conundrum... Oh wait! You could just buy a homunculus from the Baffle Store and sacrifice that instead!"
Mr. Baffle reached into his coat and pulled out a handful of something, tossing it onto the ground quickly enough that I couldn't quite identify it before a golem formed out of dirt and clay.
"Only 100 Baffle bucks! But wait, since this is your first purchase, we'll give you 50% off! No tricks, just great deals!" Mr. Baffle said. "Oh, and before I forget, you start off with 200 Baffle Bucks with your purchase of the Nu-World device! Spend it well, and remember that you can always buy more once you input that credit card information!"
I briefly pondered the implications of a company using a device capable of literally breaking the laws of reality to scam people out of money they clearly didn't need, but Mr. Baffle quickly derailed my train of thought.
"Come on, boy, shake my hand! This deal's going fast, and what kind of hero murders someone over fifty bucks?" he said, offering a hand.
"Hero, please hurry, I don't know how much longer I can keep up my nerve..." the woman said.
"Fine..." I said, shaking Mr. Baffle's hand.
"Pleasure doing business with you, dear customer!" the representative said. "If you ever find yourself in a bind, just tap that logo and Baffle will be there for you!"
He gestured at my watch. I noted that there were only three buttons on the device, and one of them was apparently devoted entirely to the Baffle Bucks shop. The garish man then bowed before tossing his hat into the air. His entire body seemed to collapsed into a few lines, shooting up into the opening of the hat before said hat flew out of the temple and off to who-knows-where.
With a sigh, I turned to the earthen figure and ran the legendary sword through it. It collapsed instantly, and the jewels on the sword's hilt began to glow. The blade seemed to give off a noise of choir singing, and the few dings and bits of grime on it quickly dissolved into nothing.
"What was that?" the woman asked. She turned to me and saw the blade lighting up like a Christmas tree. "Oh goodness, no hero has ever been able to activate the blade without a sacrifice! You must be a mighty chosen one indeed!"
"Uh... Yeah... I don't think I caught your name, by the way?" I asked.
"As a sacrifice, I'm not supposed to give my name, but I guess it's fine now... I'm Amelie, daughter of Jon the Smith," she said.
"Hello Amelie... How would you like to come with me on my quest?" I asked.
"I assumed I would be, the sword of legend stores the soul of the sacrifice so they can operate it from within," Amelie said. "But since you can use the sword without me, I guess I can be your traveling companion instead."
"Good... Uh, random question out of curiosity, if the sacrifice wasn't human, what would happen?" I asked.
"Oh, yes, back in the old days they apparently used loyal hounds instead of people, but the sword could only do as much as the dogs were capable of understanding how to do," Amelie said. "The questing still got done, but heroes couldn't lay waste to entire armies quite as easily."
"I see... Uh, so where do we go then?" I asked.
"The capital city is to the west, and the Emperor's keep overlooks it," Amelie said, taking a step toward the entrance and suddenly realizing she was still wearing a glorified curtain. "Ah, but first I should change into something more... sensible."
"Ah, right..." I said.
"Hero! Use the holy blade's magic to smite them!" Amelie shouted, cowering behind me as the bandits closed in.
"Uh, yeah..." I said. "Have at thee!"
I charged at the head of the bandits, blade at the ready. Sword fighting had been a hobby of mine even before the Nu-World device had been invented, and a magic sword was sure to give me an edge! Pun fully intended!
The blade moved with unnatural speed and precision, but the bandit leader fought back competently, and his men began to close in.
"When ya get to the afterlife, tell the king he shoulda paid us what he owed us!" the bandit said, just as the spearpoints started jabbing at me.
"What are you doing? Just use the fire spell to destroy them!" Amelie shouted.
"Fire?" I asked. Immediately, tongues of flame started pouring out of the blade, igniting the ground around me and engulfing my attackers. It only took a minute for my surroundings to be reduced to ash, but my skin felt raw and burnt.
"Ooh... Hero, it's not my place to say, but you should be more careful, it will take weeks for those burns to heal," Amelie said, carefully plodding across the burnt grass, lifting the hem of her dress to avoid it get covered in soot.
"Couldn't we get some sort of alchemical healing potion?" I asked, foolishly picking at the damaged skin.
"Um... Not to be rude, but that's WITH healing tinctures, those burns would probably be permanent without them..." she said.
"What? What kind of magical fantasy world is this?" I asked.
"It's our world, hero," Amelie said.
"Oh goodness!" A familiar voice called out. Baffle's top hat fell out of the tree next to us and began rising off the ground, with the man emerging from within.
"It seems you've found yourself in yet another pickle! If only you had the wondrous power of Baffle Brew's Miracle Elixir!" Mr. Baffle said, pulling out a small vial full of purplish liquid. "Instantly cures all that ails you! All for the meagre price of 100 Baffle Bucks!"
"I hate you so much..." I said.
"I'm sorry, hero, if I knew magic then I might have been able to help you fight them off... I'm a terrible companion..." Amelie said, sniffling.
"What? No, not you, Amelie, you're doing great" I said. "Just give me the potion, you poncy weirdo."
"Pleasure doing business with you!" Mr. Baffle said, placing the vial in my hand. He gave a bow before liquifying and sinking below the grass.
I raised the vial to my lips and swallowed the contents.
"What did you just- Oh my..." Amelie said.
My injuries seemed to practically melt away. The charred flesh dissolved away, the painful raw patches were quickly soothed, and even the nicks from the bandits' weapons closed up in moments.
"How does he manage to sap all the joy from this magical adventure?" I asked.
"Hero, who are you talking about?" Amelie asked.
"Never mind... And please call me Jamie, the whole hero thing is starting to get annoying..." I said.
"Alright Jamie... Uh, well we're only an hour's travel from our destination now," Amelie said.
I nodded, and followed Amelie back to the road. Up above, the swirling clouds seemed to be moving faster as we got closer to their epicenter.
The Emperor's throne room was surprisingly open, with a carpet that seemed to be set seamlessly into the tile floor instead of sitting atop it. The throne itself was constructed from solid gold, and in it sat a massive armored figure covered in more spikes than a sea urchin. Having fought my way up through the keep, with a few magic tricks, I was raring to go for the final battle.
"So, the petty kingdom finally saw fit to summon a hero, eh? Well, I'd say it's high time I toppled the gods from that high horse they call prophecy!" he said, in a strangely accented voice.
"We'll see about that, spiny!" I said, charging at the tin man.
The ensuing fight took almost twenty minutes, with us trading blows and firing off magic at each other. It was almost a shame to ruin the lovely room, but eventually I managed to wear through the man's defenses.
To finish the fight, I fired a bolt of lightning from the end of the holy sword, which found its way through a gap in his armor. From the smoky smell afterward, I had to assume the person inside had been burnt to a crisp.
"You did it, Jamie! Look!" Amelie said, pointing up at the sky. The purple clouds seemed to be dissipating, revealing a vast starry cosmos overhead. As a city kid, it wasn't a sight I saw much back home, and it left me stunned for a moment.
"My oh my! Looks like someone's been having a lot of fun with this world!" A certain annoying prick said. The armored figure rumbled before exploding, leaving behind a patch of soot on the ground, from which Mr. Baffle arose.
"Dammit, what do you want now?" I asked.
"Want? You saved our world, Jamie, I wouldn't ask anything else of you," Amelie said.
"Not you Amelie," I said.
"We at Baffle do hope that you've enjoyed your free trial, but unfortunately it's about to run out!" Mr. Baffle said.
"Free trial? Oh fuck no..." I said.
"But that needn't be the end! For the low, low price of 100 Baffle Bucks per month, you can continue to enjoy this world to your heart's content! And for only another 200 Baffle Bucks per month, you can take advantage of our premium membership! Unlimited worlds of infinite adventure! Infinite options for generation! Eternal possibilities! Unfortunately, it appears you only have 50 Baffle Bucks in your account right now. But don't worry, all you have to do is input your credit card information and you can get started today!" Mr. Baffle said.
"Fuck that, you two-faced rat! 'No tricks' my ass!" I said. "Come on, Amelie, we gotta get out of here, now!"
I grabbed the very confused Amelie and pressed the escape button on my remote. A portal opened in front of us, and we were through as quickly as I could run.
Amelie stood silently, looking around my modest apartment while I caught my breath and the portal closed. The Nu-World device quickly began powering down.
"Jamie, what just happened?" Amelie asked.
"Okay, we made it... Wait... Shit..." I said, before tossing the holy sword onto the table and running back to the device.
As I fiddled with the keypad, I was met with a message:
Free Trial has expired. Device will operate in Free Mode until subscription is activated.
I tapped my way through the options. Almost none of the options I had selected for Amelie's world were available in free mode, and I couldn't reopen the portal to it anymore. I couldn't even tell if the world was still around, as far as I knew, they might have literally vaporized an entire universe because I didn't pay into their stupid subscription scheme.
"Jamie, where are we?" Amelie asked, starting to sound nervous.
I wasn't sure how to answer.
"Jamie... Please talk to me..." she said, tears welling in her eyes. "I don't know what's going on... We went on our adventure and saved the world, but then you dragged me through a portal and now we're in a weird room, and the gods aren't saying anything, and I'm scared, and now you're not saying anything! Please say something, Jamie!"
I just walked over and wrapped my arms around her. I could feel myself on the verge of tears as I spoke, offering the only words I could think of:
"I'm sorry..."
submitted by AslandusTheLaster to AslandusTheLaster [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 21:54 SoCuteBear [SELL][CANADA to USA & Canada][PERFUME] More stuff added (will it ever stop?!)


$20 Minimum Please!
TAT 3 calendar days or less
SHIPPING TO USA: $11 without tracking and $15.75 with tracking. I'm shipping from Canada.
SHIPPING TO CANADA: For samples only, $3. With tracking, it starts at $15. Tracked shipping price in Canada varies by region.
All samples or decants, unless marked as FS.
All purchased new, unless marked as RIS.
ALL PRICES ARE IN USD. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BPAL (all purchased new)
DECONSTRUCTING EDEN (all purchased brand new)
FANTOME (all purchased new) $5.5 each
NUI COBALT DESIGNS (all purchased new)
POSSETS (ALL PURCHASED NEW; unless marked as FS, all are samples from direct or decant from Ajevie that are $2.5 each)
SIXTEEN92 (all purchased new unless marked as RIS)
SORCELLERIE all Sorcellerie are RIS (some cheaper than others to account for fill level differences)
submitted by SoCuteBear to IndieExchange [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 21:11 MaAdele3 What is the Top 10 Best T-Shirt Design Software?

A powerful and widely-used graphic design software with extensive features for creating custom T-shirt designs.

Another popular software from Adobe, Illustrator is great for vector-based designs and offers precise control over every element of your T-shirt design.

A versatile graphic design software that provides various tools for creating T-shirt designs, including vector graphics and typography.

An open-source vector graphics editor that is free to use. It offers comprehensive features and is suitable for designing T-shirt graphics.

  1. GIMP
An open-source raster graphics editor that can be used for designing T-shirts. It has a wide range of tools and features comparable to Photoshop.

This online platform offers a user-friendly interface and a vast library of design elements, allowing you to create custom T-shirt designs without any prior design experience.

  1. CANVA
A popular web-based design tool with a wide range of templates and customization options for creating T-shirt designs.

While not a design software itself, Printful provides an easy-to-use mockup generator that allows you to visualize your designs on T-shirts and other products.

A professional graphic design software that offers powerful vector editing tools for creating intricate and high-quality T-shirt designs.

This online platform offers a wide range of T-shirt design templates that can be customized with your text, images, and colors.

Read More:
submitted by MaAdele3 to u/MaAdele3 [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 20:16 StrangeAccounts I won a trip to visit the Wordsmith.

I won the chance to meet with my favorite Author. By no means was he an equal in comparison to the popularity of Stephen King or Dean Koontz but there was something special about his works. If you happened to stumble across one of his stories they had a habit of sticking around and festering like little rotten delicacies within your mind.
For years as a growing adult I sat down and studied every word of his. I tried to mimic the way he wrote and every time I’d fall short. There was something inside of me that just couldn’t match the integrity of his tales. Every story he wove sounded drastic, real, as if the main characters were screaming out for their stories to be heard in hopes they didn’t fade away into eternity.
He didn’t just make the characters come alive, he made them tangible. The reader felt as though the characters themselves were only a pages flip away.
Maybe that’s what made his horror so powerful. It wasn’t just the people you felt you could turn too, but also the creatures, the villains, the things that couldn’t be described by anyone else except by Vincent Valentine himself.
I ended up writing a brief paper and submitting it to a contest wrapped around the idea of ‘who inspired you to write?’ I can’t say I won by any means but every paper was openly displayed on the internet for anyone to read and comment.
Imagine my surprise when I received a comment from one 'Vincent Valentine' exclaiming only a few words;
‘You’ve warmed my heart. Keep a lookout in your inbox.
With much appreciation,
Vincent Valentine.’
I remember the sinking feeling in my heart as I read his comment. I felt blessed by a man so above my stature that it made me feel spotlighted in oddest, best and worst type of way. Nearly every hour on the hour I’d do a quick log in and hope to see the little message icon highlighted in the upper right hand corner of my screen.
This went on for a week. Precisely 7 days later on the hour of his comment I got a notification that someone had sent me a message.
‘109 Woodcrest Rd. Portland, ME? I feel confident in my sources. Expect a package soon.
With elation,
Vincent Valentine. ’
He had found my address.
To say I was surprised wouldn’t sum up my feelings in the least. I felt no hostility or fear however, it was almost Wonka-esque. I felt like I was getting a golden ticket and that feeling wasn’t misplaced. Another 7 days later I woke up to find a package waiting at my door.
I stared down at it for a minute, a black fabric shroud was tightly wound around a wooden box. My address was stamped in red lettering over the thick velvety veil. Next to it lay the words ‘From: Vincent Valentine.’
I reached down letting my hands grasp around the extravagant box. With a gentle tug I raised it off of the ground. The concrete seemed so boring and mundane compared to the package. I almost felt ashamed that I had let it sit there even for just a moment.
With a quick spin I turned around, slammed my door shut and proceeded over to my kitchen table. I tried to find the seams of the dark fabric, tugging along the edges but to my surprise found none.
From here it took me a moment to comprehend how I was going to open it without damaging the pristine void like cover. With some trepidation I wandered over to my storage closet and pulled out a box cutter. I hated the fact I had to ruin such an interesting presentation but I knew there was no other way.
I pressed the tip of the blade to the fabric and slowly slid it down. As the fabric retreated it split open revealing a red swirly underside clearly influenced by the colors of flowing blood.
My lips twitched upward before a small laugh left my lips. I stared at the display in front of me. I had cut the fabric from one corner to the other and it had perfectly spread and curled back like a body under autopsy. The wooden box itself lay under the skin ready to dissected from its body.
I set my box cutters aside and pulled out the wooden chest. Intricate designs were carved into the paneling and I instantly recognized them from how Vincent described them in his books. I was looking at Avestan text. They were so beautifully drastic from our modern characters and alphabets.
A chill ran up my spine as I thought back to the horrors Vincent had described in his tales. His greatest theme was studying the dangers of the oldest knowledge available in the world. The spreading of unnatural knowledge was ever present in his works. Granted I couldn’t read the carvings I still appreciated the showmanship.
I had never in my life thought I’d ever be brought a gift like this from someone I admired as much as Mr. Valentine.
I felt the indents of the box as my fingers trailed up to the lid. The wood seemed cold as if it had been left in some winters cavern overnight yet it was a midsummer's day and the sun was blazing outside of my front door. With a quick flick upwards I removed the casing and peered at the contents inside.
The innards of the box contained a black leather bound journal and next to it an envelope stamped with the symbol that appeared in every one of Valentines stories, the mark of Aka Manah. The forgotten God of magic and suffering.
I pulled the envelope out first, letting it rest in one hand while my other hand blindly felt around the table for the box cutters. With a quick nudge I felt a light sting. My eyes tore away from the folded letter and to the razor on my table. With blind stupidity I had skimmed my skin across the blade slicing my fingertip open. I let out a huff of disappointment in myself before gripping the handle and pulling it upwards towards the stamp.
Very gingerly I rocked the razors edge around the bottom of the wax seal, hoping to keep it in one piece. Oddly enough the wax seemed incredibly durable. Even after a couple of flawed jabs it held up nicely. The lip of the envelope separated exposing parchment inside.
I could feel the shivers creep up my spine and crossing over to my neck. Something was so foreboding about this whole situation and I loved every second of it. At the time I felt like I was in the definition of a horror novel.
I carefully pulled the parchment out from its resting place and began reading the handwritten note.
‘I hope you’ve enjoyed the extravagant show I’ve so far prepared for you. There is so much more to come. Inside this very special case that I’ve provided you resides a bound journal. I couldn’t help but notice the limitations to your short stories. Though I loved every single one, I must say, I found something missing. I wouldn’t worry though. I want to help.
Further in this envelope are plane tickets. I want you to visit my home for seven simple nights. By the time you leave I can promise you that little black book will be filled with your first ever living, breathing tale.
All you have to do is make the plane journey and I’ll take care of the rest. Make sure to sign the front cover of your new book. It’s special after all and it’s all yours.
With respects,
Vincent Valentine.’
I slowly lowered the letter on the table, careful to avoid spilling any droplets of blood onto the page. I could feel the indent of the tickets still in the envelope. I couldn’t believe my luck. I’d say my heart sang but once again something crept its way in me, something dark. It felt like I was being invited to a gala that I didn’t belong at.
I was simply a dwarf standing amongst giants.
I shook the feeling off and reached into the box to retrieve my new journal.
Each page was blank and crisp, hundreds of pages ready to be filled. When the flickering of pages reached the front cover I noticed something. A simple black line. A perfect place for my signature.
With a tepid sense of giddiness I raced back to my storage area and retrieved a pen. I quickly returned to my book and spread it open wide. With one hand I held the pages spread and with the other I held the pen. I swept my signature boldly across the line, and just as my pen tip left the page, a single droplet of blood pierced down on top of the paper.
A final period at the end of my name.
The irony of this wasn’t lost to me. I laughed trying to offset the feeling of unease. Signing that book shifted something in my life that I wouldn't be prepared for. I no longer felt like I didn’t just belong near the giants. I felt like they now were aware of me. They were watching me, judging me.
The tickets that lay inside the newly opened envelope were scheduled for 7 months out. I knew these dates weren’t by coincidence. Vincent wanted these sevens to appear, for what reason? I couldn’t say. I figured more of his showmanship would explain it to me in due time.
So I cleared my schedule for a while and prepped for my departure.
When the date came I took a taxi from my home towards the airport. The sky was darkened and cloudy. I watched as lightning flashed in the distance within the heavy gray clouds.
The sky seemed so high up that day. A true monolith of creations might. I could almost feel something immensely powerful looking down upon me from within that storm. It's eyes were assuredly turned down upon me and the journey that lay ahead.
In contrast, the airport itself felt as clinical as always. The typical smell of coffee mixed in with the incoming rain blended together into a mesmerizing fragrance. I grabbed a cup for myself and pressed it against my lips. I let the aroma fill my nostrils as I took in the sights of the planes docking and departing.
When the time came for me to board, lightning struck the tarmac. A mix of asphalt and gravel exploded near our plane. Several passengers screamed out in fear. The explosion sent pellets of rocks into the metallic frame of our sanctuary.
Of course the plane was decommissioned for the day. All planes in the area were tarmacked until further notice. I felt my shoulders give way to disappointment. Vincent said all I had to do was board the plane and he’d take care of the rest. Due to the fates I couldn’t even manage that much.
I took a seat over at the departure area and began my wait. It took the storm 7 hours to depart the area and free up the skies for travel. I had nearly given up on the trip when I heard the intercom sound from overhead.
“All flights are now boarding.”
I looked around me and noticed only a handful of us had survived the stay. The rest had all left. No doubt distraught over their failed plans. Us few who remained had boarded with ease. Almost like a miracle, the rest of the journey went smoothly. We traveled hours before the sun began setting and we arrived at our destination briskly at dusk.
Upon exiting the plane we all headed towards the luggage area. Much to my surprise I was intercepted just meters away by a handsome clean cut man dressed up in an all black suit and wearing a chauffeur’s cap.
“Excuse me Madam, I believe I’m here for you.” The Gentleman said, his dark brown eyes squinting at me with remarkable elegance.
“I’m sorry, who are you?” I politely questioned. I couldn’t have imagined that my ride would have waited for me after a seven hour delay. I was already prepared to gouge my own pockets to hire a taxi service to Mr. Valentine’s home.
“I’m in service to Mr. Vincent Valentine. I believe that I’m to take you to his residence.” His voice was so soothing and smooth. He seemed like more of an actor playing in a role than a real services employee.
“In that case, I’m sorry I made you wait.” I turned my eyes to the bags next to him. He had already procured my luggage.
“Oh, don't worry about that Madam. I haven’t been waiting long. This is the precise time I was told to arrive and so I did. Now if you wouldn’t mind, Mr. Valentine would like to see you as soon as possible.” He flashed me a smile, his pearly teeth were perfectly aligned and accentuated his chiseled jaw.
Without much more conversing he led me to the back of the small parking garage. With a slight nod he guided me over to a black 1964 Dodge 330. It looked ravishingly untouched despite its old age.
My personable Valet walked over to the passenger’s side door and opened it for me. I went to collect my belongings from him but he stopped me. He let me know he’d take care of my bags. I thanked him and took my seat. The interior of the vehicle reflected much of the same feel that it had projected on the exterior. That this was somehow a brand new classic.
When my Chauffeur returned to his side of the vehicle and shut his door I felt myself jump. I was once more jostled into feeling out of place. I had wished that I could have brought some company with me. Someone to be within my same social class. Instead I was resorted to simply just being a fish out of water in the lap of dark luxury.
Without another word and only a glimpse of a quick smile from my companion, we headed off.
I was surprised by the terrain we had found ourselves in just minutes after leaving the airport. The businesses and shopping centers had given away to grasslands and forests. The trees at first came one by one, then by clusters and then finally they tunneled us in. There was merely a thin road with a wall of lumber on either end of us.
Yet still, I was immersed in the landscape. My eyes jumped from one thing to another. The hoot of an owl, the chirping of crickets, it all amazed me. It was as if I was a new born baby entering the world for the first time. The face of my traveling partner remained nonetheless unimpressed. His demeanor made it clear that this journey was nothing special to him. And I suppose it wasn't.
As the darkness outside had peaked, refraining me from any sort of sightseeing, the man next to me spoke up.
“We’re here, Madam.” He spun the wheel of the car instinctively and circled into a large rounded driveway. I looked out my window and saw a large stone manor cropped up in chiseled Gothic architecture. Gray brickwork textured and meshed brilliantly with darkened oaken doors and rich window frames.
“I’ll get your bags. Please, head up to the door. Mr. Valentine is waiting for you.”
I nodded and thanked my driver who waved away my thanks in a polite manner.
“Oh, don’t thank me. I’m just doing what my contract outlines.” With one final charming smile he exited the vehicle. I soon followed
The size of the manor astounded me. Vincent was an amazingly talented author but I knew most readers had no idea who he was. How he could afford to live in a Victorian palace like this was unexplainable to me.
With heavy lead lining my heels I made my ascent up the stone patio steps towards the large wooden door. Hidden amongst the frame of the giant gate was a wicket door. As my feet reached the final step I felt myself freeze up. The way the manor had towered over me made me feel inexplicably small and meaningless. It had left me intimidated beyond movement.
“Well, go on Madam. You've made it this far.” The driver called out to me in a gingerly tone. He was preparing my luggage for travel. With trembling hands I knocked on the thick oaken door. A muffled impact sounded with every strike. A few moments passed by before the wicket creaked open. Inside was a beautiful young woman dressed in a black service outfit, much like the driver wore behind me.
With nothing more than a glance from her piercing eyes she spoke up.
“Welcome to the Wordsmith Manor Ms. Williams. Please come in.” The fair skinned lady reflected the same charm all of Vincent’s employees seemed to have. Though her tone was much sharper and direct. I admired her long black hair that had been pulled back into a tight bun. The dark color resonated brilliantly with her freckles and icy blue eyes.
“Thank you.” I quietly muttered. I kept my eyes low to the ground. I was scared of further intimidation from this home or its perfect occupants. I felt a finger lightly tap the underside of my chin and I looked up to see the Maid smiling at me with an unexpectedly soft smile.
“Don’t be scared to look around. Mr. Valentine specifically asked us to allow you to get a grasp of all you could on your way up to him.” After a quick meeting of our eyes I finally let my gaze roam. Inside was just as immaculate as the outside. Stone lined the walls with finely finished wooden flooring.
The dim lighting that flickered around us seemed to emanate on its own. I saw no signs of lights or cords connecting to any outlet, nor any outlets in general. I felt as though I had stepped back in time. Endlessly long hallways stretched out in every direction from the foyer. It struck my imagination immediately as it quite literally looked like an intricate spiders web.
As I was taking in the sights of the Wordsmith Manor, the male servant scooted past my back in a hurry. He was carrying my luggage up a nearby staircase.
“Your room will be located just upstairs in the main guest room. Your bags will be there for you to unpack. Though you'll find everything you need already located in the room should you search for it. For now Mr. Valentine would like to meet with you.” With a light footed twirl she began walking in front of me. I toed just behind her.
We went through a nicely ornamented hallway of different paintings. Each art piece seemed to be of different creatures and characters that could only be found in the multitude of books Vincent had written. They were painted just as vividly as the author had described them as. They felt like windows into another world rather than paint on parchment.
As I gawked upwards at the portraits of all of the characters that had enraptured my mind over the years, I had scarcely noticed the change in lighting. A rose coloring had begun filling the hallway spilling outwards from a nearby threshold. It lent the way to warmth and a calming sensation. With a few more steps towards the wave of soothing light we entered Mr. Valentine’s Den.
Many books and tomes lined the walls of this area in a neat fashion. Not a singly speck of dust prevented the shimmering of polished wood from glowing in the light. A large red rug swirled with golds and blacks. It lay at the center of the room. Sitting right next to a large stone fireplace
was the man I had only seen on the back covers of my favorite books, Mr. Vincent Valentine. Above him a large portrait of a hellish landscape. The placard read 'The Face of Aka Manah.'
“She’s ready for you Sir.” The woman chirped up. Vincent’s eyes fluttered to life as he looked to her than over to me.
“Thank you my dear. And also, of course, thank you Ms. Williams for coming.” His eyes shined unnaturally well with an endless depth of knowledge and experience. The red tint of the room had darkened his irises to a near pitch black coloring.
“Mr. Valentine, thank you so much for doing all of this.” I nearly stumbled over my words but managed to choke them out. Vincent merely gave me a half smile and shook his head dismissively.
“Nonsense. I saw that article you wrote about how my stories. About how they had inspired you to take up the pen and try your hand at crafting your own tales. I was beyond flattered.” He motioned his slender finger over to a blood red leather wingback chair that sat next to him. With a nod I followed his directions. With a short walk closer to the Author I had taken my seat in the form fitted throne next to my life long hero.
“It really is a shame how many people don’t know about you.” I offered as a sincere sentiment. His half smile spread slightly more across his aged and wizened face.
“My work finds precisely the people I want it too. You can’t share true horror with just anyone you know. I think some Authors found that out the hard way.” With a soft chuckle he resumed, “but this isn’t just a pleasant trip, as you must’ve gathered from my letter. This is a gift. I want to tutor you for for however long it takes until you can find your voice. I can promise, no matter how heavy and large that black book you hold feels, it’ll fill as easily as any ink to paper with the right motivation.”
With one of his ancient hands he pointed over to my jacket pocket, exactly where I had kept my little black book. How he knew where it was still remains a mystery to me.
“I would love to learn from you if I could get the chance.” I held back a yearning look. I didn’t want to make this man think lowly of me.
With a quick check of his watch his face had grown long and disappointed.
“The nights fading well past dawn and I fear our time tonight must be cut short. That being said I want you to understand one thing before bed. Each and every story you tell is as real as flesh and blood. Maybe not to you but to someone, something, somewhere. The cosmos is large and beyond that even larger. Science is just starting to scratch into what philosophers have known from the beginning of time. Sadly humanity's science will never catch up to their freedom of thought. The human understanding will always be a blip of the whole until it’s wiped out completely.”
The way he was staring into my eyes told me so much about who this man was. Whether or not he was sane may have been up to a debate to everyone but himself. He knew he lived in a reality so much more vivid than our own.
“Excuse me sir, the guest bedroom has been prepared. We have seven minutes.” A feminine voice behind me had broken me from my trance. Mr. Valentine's gaze left my own and looked towards his servant.
“And so ends my lesson for the night. Dream about what I taught you and I can promise by the morning you’ll already be one step closer to a new well of horror. Possibly by tomorrow night you'll be completely submerged.”
Before I could respond, the Maid had ushered me out of the den. We had arrived back in the hallway of portraits. The faces amongst them had seemingly changed their gazes to match my mood. Their eyes now were cast down upon me, judging me for who I was and who I wanted to be. Once again I felt that feeling of foreboding darkness. This time however I looked the Demons back in their countless eyes. I was trying to see them as real entities just as Mr. Valentine had requested that I do. Their terrible gazes seemed to soften with every step I took. Their lips seemingly upturning at the edges of their mouths in just the slightest of manners.
Once we hit the staircase in the main foyer I chanced a glance down an adjacent hallway to see the elegant servant carrying thick iron chains from one room to the next. After quickly shutting the doors behind him he used the irons to bar them from the outside. He glanced over towards me and our eyes met. He nodded at me in acknowledgment. His face seemed paled and worn.
My guide nudged my arm to grab my attention away from the man. "Hurry now, we need to get you in bed soon." With a hurried but dignified saunter she had led me up the wooden staircase and into the abyss above. Just as the den had tinted the air red, the second floor cast shadows of darkness around every corner. I felt a cold breath of wind run through me that seemed to emanate from the Manor's stone brick walls themselves.
“My apologies for any drafts up here. It’s been a very long time since anyone has been a guest in the Wordsmith.” Her voice reflected an apologetic tone but also that of stoicism, as if she was repeating an archaic sentiment from her memories but still a sentiment nonetheless.
“It’s fine, I enjoy cold air as long as there's a nice warm blanket to accompany it.” I forced a smile and looked at the side of the servants face. She seemed to have a coy expression on her lips at my fleeting justification for a drafty home.
“And here it is, right at the top of the staircase. I hope you find everything to your liking. If not we’ll do our best to please you in the morning.” She turned to face me. Her eyes emanated light in the darkened corridor. They were submissive but penetrative, an odd combination but one gained from countless years of servitude.
“I’m sure I will. Thank you.” With a nod she stepped beside the door, allowing me entry past her. I walked in front of the Maid and pressed my small hand on the brass handle of the guestroom door. A quick tug and a push allowed me entry.
I gaped at my room.
A large queen sized bed lay mid-way between the doorway and the far wall. A veiled rose colored canopy adorned the edges of the bed mimicking Victorian royalty. The posh blankets seemed soft enough to resemble that of ruby red a cloud. I had never seen anything like it with my own eyes before.
An expansive window lay on the farthest wall, moonlight pooled into the room and coated my resting place with a beam of heavenly light. Just below the window resided a writing desk and a chair, neatly tucked in. No signs of dust or unkempt follies showed any sort of face in this pristine room.
With hushed footsteps I approached my bed. The door latching shut behind me. I allowed my hands to slowly draw back the drapes, the silk nearly slipping through my fingertips. I took a deep breath and laid down. The bed gave way underneath my body and devoured me into its encasing folds. I let out an exhausted breath as I smiled and stared up at the ceiling. I couldn’t possibly have felt more excitement and desire for the future. My heart had swelled up inside of my chest at that moment.
With little more notice my eyes pushed themselves shut and filled my mind with an empty darkness. Neither dream nor thought seemed to come to me that night. My weary brain needed a rest perhaps more than I knew.
I woke up hours later to the brilliant shine of the morning’s sun. Even through my wispy half taut curtains the sunlight had managed to breach into my room. The large window had fully replaced the moonlight from the night prior. I looked down at myself and sighed. I had fallen asleep with all my clothes on including my shoes. I felt as though I had somehow once again proven that I didn’t belong within the halls of the manor.
I pushed that negative thought out of my mind. Quickly followed by physically pushing myself out of my resting place. With all the clarity of an early bird, I let my eyes travel around the naturally well-lit room. I saw a small door on the wall nearest the foot of my bed.
Shortly after I saw my luggage neatly placed near a hardy looking writing desk. After a quick post slumber stretch I allowed myself to start the process of unpacking my belongings. I quickly discovered that the door nearest to the bed led to a bathroom. With travel pack in hand I entered.
Marble countertops and glistening silver accessories lined the bathroom. A smile broke through my face as I saw how disheveled I looked in the mirror in comparison to the pristine nature of the room I was in. I walked to the counter and unzipped my baggie.
To my surprise everything I could need was already placed neatly in a row. Toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant and even other more personal items. Strangely enough they were all my favorite brands.
I shook it off and convinced myself that I just had good tastes in products.
I took some extra time with getting myself cleaned up and presentable. I was fully prepared to make a good impression on my host. Hell, at that point in time, I just wanted to keep pace with his Servants.
Once I was freshened up I put my used clothes into a linen hamper and headed out towards the bedroom door. With a quick flick of my wrist I felt unexpected resistance. I tried again to meet the same result.
It was latched shut.
I kept trying but sure enough the door was locked up tight from the outside of the room. A slight panic began to fill my chest. A panic set in by the fast realization I had allowed myself to enter a strangers home without proper precautions.
I felt my heartbeat begin to race.
With a heavy fist I pounded on the thick wooden frame of the door. Not too long after I heard heavy footsteps glide up the staircase to the other side of my room. With the sound of a lock turning the door opened. Standing on the other side was the Butler, my former Chauffeur.
"My apologies Madam. It's been so long since we've had a guest I suppose it slipped our mind that this door would need unlocking." He tried to give me a charming smile but I wasn't going for it this time. I quickly spat a retort back towards him.
"Why was my door locked in the first place?" I questioned, my eyes shooting directly into the brown depths of his.
"It's mostly to keep the night staff out. They don't like to be bothered much and can be a bit of a handful if they bump into anyone they don't know." In retaliation to my stare his eyes had softened and melted down some of my guard.
"Well I don't care about that. I don't want my door locked. Don't do that in the future." The man grimaced and nodded.
"As you wish." He stated flatly. "Now If you wouldn’t mind breakfast is about to be prepared. If you head to the dining room I’m sure Mr. Valentine will meet you there.” With that the man headed back down the steps towards the foyer. I stood still. I was at a loss as to where to venture. I decided to follow him and venture down the steps. By the time I reached the bottom the man was gone.
"You can head straight down towards the Den but make the first right in the hallway." I jumped as the female voice spoke up right behind my back. I turned around to see the maid behind me. She gave a calm nod and waved out her hand, pointing down the direction of the hall.
“I’m sorry, thank you.” I whispered. It was slowly becoming clear to me that there was something lurking just below the surface of this manor, like it was all a part of some type of show.
With that in the back of my mind I headed off down the hallway. The stone began to lighten up towards the back as a large windowpane took over an entire wall. I entered the windowed room and saw a rather extravagant dining set. Two chairs presented themselves at the foot of either end of the table.
I chose the chair that seemed reserved for a guest, the one less commanding of the dining room. Before long a sensual smell filled the room. Freshly baked bread, bacon and eggs were all seemingly being made from scratch. I stared outside the window as I waited and saw a large clearing in the woods. A bench lay outside facing the yard while several rocky outcroppings lay at the far end, just out of my sight.
“It’s a beautiful day isn’t it?” A smooth voice trailed off. I had glanced at the doorway to see the tall slender figure of Mr. Vincent Valentine. A new blazer was draped over his body accentuating his strong but thin shoulders.
“Very beautiful Sir.” I said, smiling at him. He put out his hand and waved my pleasantries away.
“No need for that. I need you independent for teaching, otherwise you’ll just end up like me.” His tone was like silk. He knew how to speak. Without another word he took his seat at the other end of the table. Fresh plates of food were brought out by the servants and placed in front of us. Just as I had imagined they had prepared fresh biscuits, bacon and eggs along with finely toasted bread.
I raised some food to my mouth and took a bite, nothing but purity of flavor could explain the taste. It was so very refined. It was prepared in such a way that I had to believe that the chauffeur didn’t just have a knack for driving under his belt but was a perfected chef as well.
Mr. Valentine gazed out of the window as I ate, not touching a bite of the spread that lay in front of him.
“Are you willing to go beyond your personal comfort to write?” He asked out loud. The surprising nature of his question made me put my food back down on my plate.
“As long as I’m being taught by you, I don’t think we could go wrong.” I offered while I eyed up the strange teacher.
At my words his sharp gaze shifted to my eyes, penetrating my very soul.
“I want you to leave here a creator, an author of the highest ability. That takes a great deal of sacrifice. Would you be willing to do that?”
I felt stunned at his question. I didn’t understand his meaning nor his goal.
“I believe I am.” I replied. I looked on his face for any type of signal that I had said the right thing. To my surprise a smile came across the old man’s face.
“Good to hear. Tonight will be a fine night for horror.” With that Mr. Valentine stood up from his chair and walked out of the dining room, leaving myself and the feast before me, to our own devices.
I took my time to fill my stomach and then excused myself silently from the table. I wandered the halls of the Wordsmith endlessly. The layout seemingly to continuously shift with every loop. I couldn't explain it but my thought's seemed to refuse to be collected.
I had based by two equivalent foyers, three libraries and countless halls. Eventually becoming lost in the maze of the manor. I felt a cold sweat begin to hit me as I was quickly realizing I wouldn't be able to get back to where I started.
Somehow every long hour only lasted a short minute. The windows began to shift from morning light, to brilliant afternoon beams to a rose colored sunset in just moments.
I spent all day lost and didn't speak with Mr. Valentine a single time after breakfast. No doubt frustrating the man that I was wasting his time.
I quickened my pace down the stone hallways. Left, Right, Left, Forward. Somehow I looped around. I began to jog. Night was approaching. The layout was impossible. Where were the servants?
I heard whispers coming from doors that had long since been chained shut. The same chains I had seen the Butler the night prior carrying. Could this be some ploy just to scare me? If so how were they commanding these stone spaces to loop and twirl so easily around me.
It didn't matter eventually. Night had fully fallen by the time I found myself at the Foyer near my bedroom. Even though hours supposedly had past my stomach was still full from breakfast.
I felt like crying. I wasted an entire day of my trip running around a manor by myself. Not a single page written in the journal Mr. Valentine had bought for me. And to make it worse a quick glance around the hallways showed no signs of life. Just cold drafts of dry air. I had no option but to go back up to my room and try to start anew tomorrow.
I traced my steps back up from the night prior and making it back up to my room. Inside was dark, clouds had covered the moonlight letting nothing break through the thick ink that had pooled inside. I kicked off my shoes and fell back onto the bed. Tears in my eyes.
With every huff of air I took I could hear an echo coming from the blackened corner of the room.
I turned my head and stared into the void.
I couldn't make out anything at first. I wiped the water from my eyes and kept focusing. Eventually a figure formed in my mind. Something just taller than myself. Masculine, dapper.
The Male Servant.
I sat up and called out to the shadow. "What are you doing in my room? How long have you been there?"
The mans outline just continued to watch me. My senses suddenly kicked in. Some sort of instinct was telling me to get as far away from this man as possible. I slowly stood up to my feet, my eyes not leaving his shape.
I slowly began to step towards the door. His frame just stood in the darkness like a drape, his face watching me as I walked further away.
Once I was near the door I felt my shoulder bump into something. I turned and stared at the Maid. Or rather the Maid that was not a maid.
Her outfit clung to her like loose fitting rags. Her face gaunt and mouth opened exposing a pit of darkness outlined by a row of pearly white teeth. Her lower jaw jiggled with my shoulders light touch.
I heard a voice in the back of my head call out to me. 'Run.' And so I did.
I immediately ran down the stairs towards the front foyer. The skittering of feet following closely behind me. I reached the front door and pulled. It tugged but refused to budge. It was locked. I turned to face my pursuers but through my squinted gaze I was met with nothing more than an empty room.
I started to breath heavily trying to control myself. Off down a distant hallway I heard a door open and close. It sounded like it came from Mr. Valentine's Den. I turned back to the front door and tried opening it again, looking for the latch.
Footsteps began to walk down the hallway towards me.
I pulled and pulled, tears welling up in my eyes again. I made a mistake. Coming to here, meeting a stranger, I was being dumb. I never should have taken the offer.
Eventually I screamed out at the front door and heard a soothing voice come from behind me.
"What a terrible night you seem to be having." It was Mr. Valentine. I turned to face him. His back was turned towards me and face obscured.
"Mr. Valentine, please, I don't want to do this anymore. Something's wrong with this place. I'm sorry, I just-" I froze as Mr. Valentine walked closer to me. His knees protruded backwards, facing the wrong way underneath his fine silk slacks.
"My dear, you have 5 days left here." With that all the light faded in the Foyer. I was cast in darkness.
It wasn't until sunlight hit my face the next morning that I felt some sort of relief. I looked around me, I was in the guest bedroom. Precisely where I was the night before. I shot back up and looked around. Nothing was out of place. I heard a knocking at the door. It was the Maid.
"Madam, we've prepared breakfast for you. You wont want to miss your first lesson with Mr. Valentine. He's waiting for you.
I didn't know if I could make it much longer there. Nothing made any sense.
When I came to think of it, I couldn't even remember a single title Mr. Valentine had ever wrote.
submitted by StrangeAccounts to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 20:01 Comfortable-Bat-4072 A Pratical Tourist Guide to Pyrrhia. Part 6: Icicles and ice cream with Icewings

A Practical Tourist Guide to Pyrrhia. Part 6: Icicles and ice cream with Icewings Hello all dear tourists and welcome back to our daily appointment in the guide to Pyrrhia and its cultures. Prepare your notes and pencils, the situation is about to get really complex. Grab your jackets while you're at it.
(Disclaimer: due to various problems with the sources received, some information may be outdated or incorrect. The Icewings public and any other species or tribe are asked not to be offended but to report various errors to the reception - the comments. Our director will take care to send apology letters and correct. Thank you for your support.)
Icewings (or ice dragons or arctic dragons), are the dragons that live in the cold lands of the Ice Kingdom, in the north.
Like the Sandwings, the Icewings have adapted perfectly to their environment, although it is the exact opposite of the desert.
The most notable feature is the serrated scales and multiple spines all over their heads and backs, which makes them look a bit like a porcupine.
The tail is also serrated, shaped like a pointed whip. Not to mention the claws, sharp as razors to cling to the slippery ice of the homeland.
The colors vary from white to blue, of course.
They are related to Mudwings and Skywings, given the wings without the underpatagio.
The strangest thing about this tribe is the fact that they manage to survive and thrive in an environment where food (large animals) is almost completely absent.
Since they live in ice, they have abilities typical of an "ice dragon" in the popular imagination.
In addition to sharp claws and tail (the latter is very narrow, capable of snapping like a whip) and resistance to very low temperatures (which leads to a weakness in the heat), their main weapon is the breath weapon.
In fact they are the only species that blows water. Or rather, frozen water. "Frostbreath" is a lethal ray of very low temperature ice that causes enormous damage in contact with the skin (like fire), causing hypothermia on long exposure. While it is less lethal than fire (since it cannot expand), it is stronger than it.
it has been studied that if two dragons, an Icewing and a fire breather, collide their breaths, the ice one will prevail with difficulty. This doesn't apply to Skywings, as they have hotter fire than normal.
In contact with the ground, the "frostbreth" creates graceful ice sculptures resembling mini-icebergs. In contact with a living being, it creates a corpse.
For whatever reason, if you were hit in the mouth by frostbreath, the only remedy would be to stay immersed in the lava forever. This thing is so strange that there is no need to comment on it
The Icewings culture is a mix between Athenian and Spartan.
The way they raise dragonets is decidedly spartan, believing that traumatizing them for life is an effective way to educate.
The social structure is more Athenian, given the great observation in social norms and rigidity in behavior.
Icewings social classes are very complex.
There are seven social ranks, called Circles. it is obvious that the lower the Circle you are at, the more disadvantaged your life will be and vice versa. If you're in the seventh circle, you're a loser, and if you're in the first circle, you're an aristocrat, rich as hell.
Contrary to what one might expect, it is possible to go up or down by Circle. This happens through trials such as hunting, fighting or training. Membership in one and another Circle is determined by birth.
The queen has unchallenged power, even more than in other tribes, and she can change society as she pleases. She is so important that it's up to her to approve the names of the dragonets (which can be extremely boring). In this regard, the names are chosen in the couple by those of the highest social class
Another interesting thing to know about the Circles is that they were the inspiration for the famous manga: Attack On Titan, but when I checked it seemed to me that the Icewings had no problem with giants, but maybe I didn't check well
A separate discussion is necessary for the Animus and above all for the Gifts.
In the Icewings the Animus are more common than in other tribes, but they still have to respect very strict laws, all of which are still broken because the heck one gets to argue with an Animus.
For example, an Animus can only use magic once in a lifetime, to benefit the tribes, by creating a Gift.
The Gifts are objects or structures of immense magical power that largely regulate the life of the tribe.
For example:
-Fortunately many of these Gifts have been confiscated by the UN as "weapons of mass destruction" or "violations of the Geneva Convention"
-Fun fact: it seems that among the Icewings the Julius Caesar method of killing queens is very common
For any clarifications on the complex subject of the Icewings' social structure, it is advisable to consult specific manuals and treatises such as "Crystal Tree: the society of ice dragons" or "The Gifts of the Icewings, history and nature".
The Ice Kingdom is a wasteland of snow, ice, and icebergs, composed solely of snow, ice, and more snow. Animals of both North Pole and South Pole origin live here.
The southern areas are a great ski resort, as it gets hotter and is bearable for a normal creature. The northern areas even reach -50° in very cold periods and any unsuitable life form would instantly become an icicle.
It seems to me that the time has come to leave these frozen lands for another episode. See you next time with "A Practical Tourist Guide to Pyrrhia. Part 7: Sunbathing among the Rainwings"
submitted by Comfortable-Bat-4072 to WingsOfFire [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 19:49 Comfortable-Bat-4072 A Practical Tourist Guide to Pyrrhia. Part 6: Icicles and ice cream with Icewings

Hello all dear tourists and welcome back to our daily appointment in the guide to Pyrrhia and its cultures. Prepare your notes and pencils, the situation is about to get really complex. Grab your jackets while you're at it.

(Disclaimer: due to various problems with the sources received, some information may be outdated or incorrect. The Icewings public and any other species or tribe are asked not to be offended but to report various errors to the reception - the comments. Our director will take care to send apology letters and correct. Thank you for your support.)

Icewings (or ice dragons or arctic dragons), are the dragons that live in the cold lands of the Ice Kingdom, in the north.
Like the Sandwings, the Icewings have adapted perfectly to their environment, although it is the exact opposite of the desert.
The most notable feature is the serrated scales and multiple spines all over their heads and backs, which makes them look a bit like a porcupine.
The tail is also serrated, shaped like a pointed whip. Not to mention the claws, sharp as razors to cling to the slippery ice of the homeland.
The colors vary from white to blue, of course.
They are related to Mudwings and Skywings, given the wings without the underpatagio.

The strangest thing about this tribe is the fact that they manage to survive and thrive in an environment where food (large animals) is almost completely absent.

Since they live in ice, they have abilities typical of an "ice dragon" in the popular imagination.
In addition to sharp claws and tail (the latter is very narrow, capable of snapping like a whip) and resistance to very low temperatures (which leads to a weakness in the heat), their main weapon is the breath weapon.
In fact they are the only species that blows water. Or rather, frozen water. "Frostbreath" is a lethal ray of very low temperature ice that causes enormous damage in contact with the skin (like fire), causing hypothermia on long exposure. While it is less lethal than fire (since it cannot expand), it is stronger than it.
it has been studied that if two dragons, an Icewing and a fire breather, collide their breaths, the ice one will prevail with difficulty. This doesn't apply to Skywings, as they have hotter fire than normal.
In contact with the ground, the "frostbreth" creates graceful ice sculptures resembling mini-icebergs. In contact with a living being, it creates a corpse.
For whatever reason, if you were hit in the mouth by frostbreath, the only remedy would be to stay immersed in the lava forever. This thing is so strange that there is no need to comment on it

The Icewings culture is a mix between Athenian and Spartan.
The way they raise dragonets is decidedly spartan, believing that traumatizing them for life is an effective way to educate.
The social structure is more Athenian, given the great observation in social norms and rigidity in behavior.
Icewings social classes are very complex.
There are seven social ranks, called Circles. it is obvious that the lower the Circle you are at, the more disadvantaged your life will be and vice versa. If you're in the seventh circle, you're a loser, and if you're in the first circle, you're an aristocrat, rich as hell.
Contrary to what one might expect, it is possible to go up or down by Circle. This happens through trials such as hunting, fighting or training. Membership in one and another Circle is determined by birth.
The queen has unchallenged power, even more than in other tribes, and she can change society as she pleases. She is so important that it's up to her to approve the names of the dragonets (which can be extremely boring). In this regard, the names are chosen in the couple by those of the highest social class
Another interesting thing to know about the Circles is that they were the inspiration for the famous manga: Attack On Titan, but when I checked it seemed to me that the Icewings had no problem with giants, but maybe I didn't check well
A separate discussion is necessary for the Animus and above all for the Gifts.

In the Icewings the Animus are more common than in other tribes, but they still have to respect very strict laws, all of which are still broken because the heck one gets to argue with an Animus.
For example, an Animus can only use magic once in a lifetime, to benefit the tribes, by creating a Gift.
The Gifts are objects or structures of immense magical power that largely regulate the life of the tribe.
For example:
- The Gift of Order: a gigantic wall on which ALL and I mean ALL of the names of every single living Icewing are written, cataloged by Circle
- The Gift of Healing. A set of narwhal horns capable of healing damage from "frostbreath"
- The Gift of Vengeance. Ok this is sick, but really sick. It is a particular challenge (the Diamond Trial) held in a cave (which is the actual gift) where two dragonets challenge each other to death and fight against a reanimable and frozen carcass of a Nighwing to rise in the Circles. The fact is that this Nightwing was punished almost 2000 years ago by Queen Icewing who, not contenting herself with killing her, is making her suffer for eternity. This thing is disturbingly gore
-Fortunately many of these Gifts have been confiscated by the UN as "weapons of mass destruction" or "violations of the Geneva Convention"

-Fun fact: it seems that among the Icewings the Julius Caesar method of killing queens is very common

For any clarifications on the complex subject of the Icewings' social structure, it is advisable to consult specific manuals and treatises such as "Crystal Tree: the society of ice dragons" or "The Gifts of the Icewings, history and nature".

The Ice Kingdom is a wasteland of snow, ice, and icebergs, composed solely of snow, ice, and more snow. Animals of both North Pole and South Pole origin live here.
The southern areas are a great ski resort, as it gets hotter and is bearable for a normal creature. The northern areas even reach -50° in very cold periods and any unsuitable life form would instantly become an icicle.

It seems to me that the time has come to leave these frozen lands for another episode. See you next time with "A Practical Tourist Guide to Pyrrhia. Part 7: Sunbathing among the Rainwings"
submitted by Comfortable-Bat-4072 to u/Comfortable-Bat-4072 [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 19:18 daughterskin Persona 5 Royal (2019): You and he were... buddies, weren't you?

"Ooh, we can do this!"
Persona 5 Royal is a remaster of a sequel of a spinoff of a spinoff of a game I'll never play based on a book I'll never read. Wisely, like a lot of long-running IPs, you don't need to know anything about the surrounding meta-series to jump in. Persona 5 is an eighty-hour long visual novel that is on occasion interrupted by a dungeon-crawling JRPG. It's not an even split. I'd say a good three-quarters of the game is just choosing dialogue options and watching cutscenes. One bullshit chapter aside, it's a pretty straightforward experience provided you keep up to date with your social obligations.
Persona 5 has you play a young student falsely accused of assault. Now on probation, you're sent packing to Tokyo where you begin a new year of school under a heavy cloud of suspicion. Your world is especially bleak when you learn that your classmates live under the thumb of a predatory gym-teacher. That is until you discover the Metaverse. This is a concept of a virtual world that has existed in public discourse long before a sweaty robot in real-life tried trademarking the term. In Persona 5's case, the metaverse is a realm borne from the subconscious thoughts and desires of the masses. The first chapter has our hero, codenamed Joker, travel to the verse and infiltrate the mental palace of the gym teacher. By stealing the treasure therein, he makes the teacher in the real world feel the weight of his crimes, forcing him to confess. It's like Inception with better audio-mixing. Or Paprika if you're a contrarian nerd.
Joker starts a team called the Phantom Thieves, made up of a close band of friends and some girl called Haru, and they embark on a mission to steal the hearts of the otherwise untouchable corrupt figures in authority. Each chapter follows the same formula. You first get a long period of cutscenes and exposition to set up the next villain. Then you enter a sandbox where you have two to three weeks to steal the treasure from the villain of the week's palace. It's recommended to binge said palace in the minimum number of days possible, to free up your time building your social stats and bonds.
Now that I've laid out the structure of the game, I can put forth where it shines, where it falters, and where it stuffs itself like Mr. Creosote.
Content Breakdown
The Perks of (not) being a Wallflower
I detest a sloppy interface. I hate it when a Eurojank RPG ejaculates a message onscreen like "You received 15 Experience Points" in Calibri font. Piranha Bytes, I'm looking at you. I believe there are two ways you can go about making an ideal interface. Either downplay it and make it largely invisible, like Resident Evil ever since it got rebooted in RE7 or give the interface a character in itself that reflects that the nature of the game. What people remember about Persona 5 is the sheer style it injects into every menu and transition. There's an energy to every speech-bubble and button-prompt. The striking red colour-scheme and excited typography ooze charm without ever hampering the legibility. Your reward for leveling up isn't a minor stat increase, it's hearing the satisfying pop of a balloon in the result screen. I never thought firing a gun in turn-based combat could be satisfying. The one stylistic choice that wasn't necessary were the jagged black-borders seen during cinematics. It reminded me of Dark Souls II where every time we introduced the boss, the cameraman got an erection.
I beat Dragon Quest XI a while back. I thought it was solid at the time, being a HD revisit of the much loved VIII. But my opinion of it has since soured like pasteurized milk in a heatwave. For one the protagonist had an incredibly boring design and possessed no personality whatsoever. Scene after scene would thrust him to the spotlight, despite him having no voiced dialogue nor able to register a single facial expression. Persona 5's Joker meanwhile never took me out of the action because the camera never gets it in his face, and he can speak a few words in at key moments. It's no exaggeration to say that Joker's design is iconic and instantly recognizable. Meanwhile that loser uncle from Watch Dogs laments that nobody cares about his ball-cap, which remain by the thousand gathering dust in a Canadian warehouse.
Dragon Quest XI also lost me due to its rather horrendous soundtrack. That game could take 90 hours to platinum when it had at most 90 minutes of music. If you ever stumbled upon a pleasing composition, that's because it was recycled from a previous game. The overworld theme of XI haunts my dreams with its cacophony of blarps heard in every corner of the world. I strongly believe that the composer, Koichi "No Dignity" Sugiyama, actually died years before his official passing. But his spirit was able to possess his corpse thanks to his reality-warping bigotry. By comparison Persona 5 has an actual soundtrack that easy on the ears. We've got Jazz, Pop, and a touch of Disco. The best track is "River in the Desert", a thumping vocal piece that hypes up the player's stature instead of the boss. I'm really not a music-listening-guy so I'll just hurry to the next point. It's easier to raze than to praise.
Persona 3 and 4 were made quick and cheap back in the day, with the most budget example of their production being the dungeons. Just floor after floor of randomly-generated rooms and corridors. Throw in some treasure chests and patrolling mobs of enemies and you're done. Persona 5 steps up by default simply by having level-design at all. Each palace you infiltrate is a hand-crafted zone with puzzles and set-pieces. To help sell the feeling of a heist, each palace is modeled after a locale like a bank, a castle, or a casino, but naturally governed by the ego of its ruler. It isn't mind-blowing for a game to have levels with setpieces and shortcuts, but it's such a strong move forward for the series that it can never go back to a bunch of flat and boring grids.
Persona 5 Royal still has a randomly-generated dungeon, but it's well handled here. When you steal the treasure from a palace, the place crumbles and can no longer be accessed. Mementos is the game's backup and mega-dungeon, being over seventy floors deep and unlocked piecemeal with the plot. Here you can quickly level up, earn cash and items, catch persona you missed and undertake side-quests. The quests are pretty much all the same, where you confront a mini-boss in an arena, but there aren't too many of them to outstay their welcome. Mementos has a rewarding collectible system whereby you can find stamps that can be used to augment the rate you gain experience, cash, and items. What's absolutely key about Mementos is that you have Ryuji's Insta-kill perk. This lets you immediately kill off low-level mobs without entering combat, but lets you keep all the spoils. This cuts down on hours of killing trash mobs. I honestly think this perk should have been available from the get-go.
Combat is quick and flashy, with the aim being to chain attacks together so that your enemies never get a word in. You hit foes in their elemental weakness or bring them to their knees with a status-effect, then cap them off with a flashy all-out attack. It's a testament to the game there is so much vitality in what is a purely turn-based affair with no quick-time events or timed button-mashing thrown in an attempt to perk things up. It's very much a winning formula that has been iterated and polished on for over a decade.
Guts and Friends are still on the Boat
The irony of Persona 5 is that for a game all about balancing one's social-life with work and making friends, you will have to give up your own real social-life and friends if you want to beat the fucking thing. Against my better judgment I powered through the thing in two weeks and earned the rather easy platinum after eighty hours. There's a second set of achievements in-game that demand you accomplish all the tedious shit like beat every superboss and collect every item, but nobody has the time for that. Now, I can't think of what to add to Persona 5 as to improve the experience, but I sure as hell have a laundry list of scenes that should have gotten the Hemingway treatment.
The first three-quarters of the story is told through a framing-device where Joker is in custody after a heist gone wrong. You're thrust back to the present between each chapter where the interrogator introduces the next villain. However, every time you initiate a new friendship, the framing-device butts in for no real reason. What's that? You became pals with the kid who plays the light-gun game at the arcade? That must explain how adept you are at firearms! This happens at least twenty times. It's an entire layer of commentary that didn't need to exist.
In an eighty-hour game, I don't think it's necessary to flashback to a moment that happened ten seconds ago.
The climax of the base game is incredibly long. The palace has you take on five minibosses who drop the keys needed to reach the treasure. In a surprising twist, the last mini-boss has three phases. The palace ruler then fights you in a five-phase battle. Hope you don't die at any point, because checkpoints aren't a thing in this game. Completing this palace launches you into the endgame which takes place inside of a single day. First you must reach the bottom of Mementos, which I also hope you hadn't neglected to fully plumb by this point. Then you have to complete two dungeons back-to-back in addition to four mini-bosses before finally taking down the god of evil or whoever. What makes this section especially drag is that the plot threads the player might have cared about are wrapped up in the middle of this dungeon crawl. You are essentially fighting a new villain at this point only vaguely tied to the main conspiracy.
I loosely followed a guide for the first four months of the game, and I was able to max out all my social stats by the midpoint. Still, the game had to pause while rewarding me points in charm or intellect I had no use for.
Towards the end of the game, I noticed a ton of identical scenes that occur back-to-back. When the true villain rears his head, all your party-members lose hope and choose to mope around in a prison block. You have to manually talk to all six of them and snap them out of their stupor, while the soundtrack keeps cutting between the same two maudlin tracks like this is Full House or something. This sequence is repeated again in the next chapter. For some reason it takes Joker an effing week just to hold a five-minute conversation with each of his friends. Then each of my friends unlocked their strongest persona, meaning the same scene again six times in a row. Just when the game threatened to end, there's a day where Joker is given a chocolate from all ten of the women he can befriend. The same scene, ten times, all in a row.
At the end of the first social link I completed there was a twist that put a neat bow on the friendship. I smiled at that. Then I completed another social link which delivered same twist, and another and another. My smile dropped. I feel the writers are running up against the structure of the game, with each social link having exactly ten levels to progress through. A game like Ys VIII or Yakuza can be more flexible and less repetitive with how side-quests are laid out because it's not beholden to a calendar. Persona 5 exposes the limitation of its central conceit since it has to stretch or squeeze every sidequest into the same ten beats.
In an eighty-hour game, I don't think it's necessary to flashback to a moment that happened ten seconds ago.
XXI. The Worst
I'm not sure if it's a Japanese thing or a Persona thing, but the relationship between Joker and his homeroom teacher gets really awkward. The thing is you'll want to embark on this weird friendship as early as possible as she offers the most useful perks in the game.
Ryuji is your first companion, and he's likable from the get-go. He's a wrongly disgraced athlete who's not big on the books, but he possesses a firm sense of justice and is a faithful brother-in-arms from the minute you meet him. The worst scene of the game sees Ryuji put his friends' safety over his own wellbeing, proving him to be at heart a selfless and compassionate person. He then gets beaten up by the very people he saved, as a joke. Persona 5 is peppered with little "anime-isms" that would be inoffensive in a twenty minute cartoon, but are plain tasteless in a story-heavy epic that wants to be taken seriously.
The second worst scene of the game sees Ryuji get hit on by a camp gay duo. In a story with many healthy friendships between men, what wasn't needed was a pair of dated and unfunny stereotypes seemingly time-warped here from 2003. The Royal remaster tries to dress down their offensive nature, but it would have kinder to omit them entirely like Yakuza 3 did with its crossdresser country-runner subplot.
Persona 5 has an excellent soundtrack, no argument here. But like the previous game it commits the sin of having one unchanging battle theme. There are technically two, one for when you ambush the enemy 95% of the time, the other for when the enemy ambushes you. In essence you're going to hear the first fifteen seconds of the same pop song ad nauseum across an eighty-hour game.
Persona 5 still has that old chestnut where you get a Game Over if Joker falls in combat, regardless of how healthy the rest of the party is. While there may have been an in-story justification for this rule back in Persona 3, or in the SMT games where your characters acts as a beast-tamer with no human allies, here it just feels like a tradition that has stuck around because nobody cared to take a second look at it. Like an employee who was technically fired ages ago, but who still shows up at the workplace and acts like nothing happened.
Personal preference, but I think the persona system itself could be streamlined. The act of recruiting of monsters in the Persona sub-series is downplayed because only Joker can change and customize his persona. There are hundreds of persona to fuse together, with dozens of possible traits and hundreds of possible skills to pass on, which feels like overkill for sake of customization. Persona started as a spinoff of a series that was hardcore turn-based combat and dungeon-crawling. But with the introduction of the social-sim element the needle shifted and dungeon-crawling is no longer the sole exhibit. I think that for all the polish and new toys Persona 5 brings, it wouldn't be a bad idea to cut down on the series baggage it inherits. It's also tedious on level-up having to discard old skills to make room for new ones.
The first antagonist is a predatory gym teacher called Kamoshida and he's an excellent villain for how real he is. He's not tied to the overarching conspiracy or some supernatural monster, he's simply a rotten man in authority not far removed from the countless rotten real-life men in authority who make the headlines every week. The first chapter builds and builds on Kamoshida's depravity, making your vendetta with him both personal and just. The mood lightens when Joker and his friends get a handle on how the metaverse, and there is a well-earned catharsis in bringing Kamoshia down from the inside.
The problem is that the rest of the villains after Kamoshida suck. All of them, except for the new guy introduced in the Royal remaster, are missing something. One villain decides to reform offscreen and promptly disappears. Another villain is shown to be nothing but a despicable businessman without a single redeeming trait. When he gets killed off by the conspiracy, it's played as a tragedy, but again the game has any tender moments to his name happen offscreen. The main villain, who drives the first eighty-percent of the plot, is a massive disappointment. You'll know who he is after the first chapter, though inevitably the Phantom Thieves are too thick to grasp that the random guy with voice-acting and his own character portrait will be important later. When the main villain formally takes the spotlight, he gives us the worst written exchange in the game, wherein he and his henchman talk about the evil plan they're undertaking, despite both characters knowing each other for years and having no reason to exposit shit now except for the benefit of an invisible audience. No matter how much they want us to hate this guy there is simply nothing to grasp on to. He's too thinly sketched to merit any animosity.
By comparison, the villain of Yakuza 7 was a politician who was all but useless in a fight. Where Persona 5 pays lip service to rebellion, Yakuza 7 goes heavily political and is all the better for it. The villain there pulls an absolutely disgusting move right out of the nationalist playbook, yet taking him down is not a purely cathartic act. The final confrontation is a rollercoaster of emotion that drives the hero, the villain, and the audience to blubbering tears. For how long Persona 5 is, it fails to flesh out its antagonists to register them as in being any way interesting. It's also disappointing in the lack of any female villains.
The Royal remaster isn't so much of an expanded version of the game as it is a mulligan, a do-over. They must have realized that the villains after Kamoshida kind of blew, so they capped the game off with an extra chapter and a proper antagonist. You'll know who this guy is long before the other shoe drops, but he is a strong addition and offers an excellent performance by a now sadly departed voice-actor. The new chapter also pairs you up with an evil party member who is refreshing in how much of a hammy, abrasive jerk he is.
Now I must come to the elephant in the room, and I'm not talking about Ganesha. This is the absolute low-point of Persona 5, an opinion shared by pretty much everyone who has beaten the game. The fifth chapter of Persona 5 is unequivocally garbage. We're introduced to Haru, the last member of the Phantom Thieves. She makes her formal appearance forty hours in and her social link is the final one to be unlocked. By the time I'd finally spoken to her I'd maxed out all my social stats, finished most of my bonds, and the Phantom Thieves had undergone many close adventures together, making it a tall order to care about some new girl so late in the day. Even the girl stapled on by the Royal remaster has more build-up than Haru.
Despite Haru having personal ties to the villain of the week, the plot decides that a talking cat should take the limelight instead. In the showdown between Haru and the villain, the talking cat gets the shining moment instead of Haru. Why are we are focused on the fucking talking cat? There is an utterly stupid conflict with this talking cat that comes from nowhere, accomplishes nothing, and is promptly wrapped up having no effect on the greater narrative. There's also an attempt to frame what has been a black-and-white situation until now into a moral quandary, even though the thieves were perfectly justified in their actions which they did for selfless reasons. It's like Batman catching the Joker trying to make baby oil by crushing babies, and the Joker stops Batman in his tracks by asking what if Batman was the real guilty party here?
Sadly it isn't just the writers who are chugging stupid pills in this chapter. The game-design takes a deep dive into obnoxious waters. The palace has this nonsensical puzzle with switches and airlocks that I gave up on trying to decipher the logic of, so alt-tab to Neoseeker I did. But the real offender is the boss. Oh God, the boss. Due to his resemblance to Robin William, I'm going to call him Patch Adams. This is how the fight against Patch Adams goes:
I would happily kill the Fume Knight once more than ever face Patch Adams again. He's so astoundingly difficult because he's in the wrong game entirely. He should be the optional superboss in a hardcore RPG, not a mandatory boss in a breezy social-sim. He's not the harbinger of any later difficulty either, because the game goes right back to being a snooze after him. The difficulty-curve of Persona 5 Royal is a flat line with a single spike in the middle, like receiving a prostate exam by a doctor who absent-mindedly dipped his glove in tabasco sauce. It's so staggeringly awful a fight, to introduce so many mechanics at once and expect the player to get a handle on them all in a short space of time.
Like the talking cat mentioned above, the game has a frustrating tendency to focus on the wrong characters. The social-links with party members like Ann and Makoto are more about conversing with their incredibly annoying and unlikable friends. More than once a character is built up as a slimeball who looks to have their heart changed, only for you to never confront them and the whole matter is quickly resolved offscreen.
Rank Up!
Persona 5 is a game that will fall apart for some on account of its weak plotting, disappointingly lightweight story, and excessive length. But it kept me glued to my gamepad on the strength of its gameplay, polish, and presentation. It's a massive game and trying to topple it completely with my criticism is like trying to knife to death an already beached whale. It's far too big and could have afforded a tighter focus on the elements that mattered. The Royal remaster adds a welcome ton of polish and quality-of-life features, but it also renders a good chunk of the game's underlying systems redundant.
Both the first and final chapters are its strongest, narratively, so I'm more inclined to forgive its countless fuck-ups in the middle. It's far from the best of the "big" games I've played but it still manages to stick the landing. Obviously I'd recommend a loose guide if you want to see every story event in the one playthrough. I chide games like Red Dead II for going all out on the visuals while leaving the underlying mechanics rusty and unchanged, so I must praise Persona 5 for pushing the hardware towards timeless style over aging polygons, while taking care to examine what's under the hood. You'd never guess this game released on the PS3, years after the console's heyday.
Persona 5 is big fun while it lasts though you will notice when it leans on the most aggravating of anime tropes. Again, sometimes I can't tell if the thing that annoys me is a Japanese thing or a Persona thing. Like Yakuza, this pancake is little overcooked on one side, but you'll enjoy it all the same.
submitted by daughterskin to patientgamers [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 18:54 hijesushere Welcome to the ExMormon Music Rodeo Showdown, starring your host, Eneagram Hotspot.

Edit: oh, I thought this got posted last night. This ones a doozy you guys. Sorry, it's not, well, its kind of related to being Mormon... I mean, it's in the same ethical framework, I'm exchristian too, I just, uh, went the other direction. Anyways, I missed class, I overslept, so I'm heading over to the schizophrenia subreddit to try telling them over there. They can probably relate at least, I'm sure none of them will listen to me either but, I'm at work, you know what I mean? I can't not be doing anything, no matter how pointless it may seem. We're prospectors after all: gotta keep panning that river am I right, squad? Luh you fam. Don't tear my head off, please. The songs make a movie if you watch then in order. It's all whatever, I had a great time making it for you guys, regardless if anybody wants to play my game or not, I know it's pretty long. Anyways,
Hey whats up you guys, it's Michael, I'm an angel. Well, that's what I tell people online, anyways. I typically don't tell people in person, it just makes for an awkward conversation, and I just don't have enough energy to act weird enough for them to consider it so like... you know, it's just stupid. It's typically a waste of time. "Oh but if you're Michael then blah blah blah" I'm like yeah... boop. Switching gears:: the man does not care in the slightest. Your boy, my sweet ex Mormons, your friend here, who, obviously, is suffering from delusions of Grandeur and... you know, just NARCICISM, is simply looking for attention. Pshhh, ok homie. I mean yeah, wouldn't you? Like what else am I trying to do. Like hello. Like let's get this thing moving, good grief what the heck do I have to do? I could heal someone... I'm still working on my eyes... my powers have been, slightly extended... anyways, holy crap you guys, I'm sorry, this post isn't even about that. I just got off work, I'm just sort of still unwinding. Pretty hilarious day not gonna lie to you. So anyways, basically, I just, well, I'm starting to anyways, but I pick a sub and then I do like a Playlist of whatever type jams I'm listening to. Your boy loves kpop you guys, they sing like angels, don't you think? Anyways... how it works is, I'll play a song, you'll either listen or watch it, it's up to you, and then, uh, you read, uh yeah you read the words that I had typed on the screen. Oh and I'm ex adventist if that counts for anything, that's sort of like Mormon, except Mormonisms better: Mormon dudes get a ton of chicks. That's a religion after my own heart right there.
Alrighty, let's get started.... mmmmm.... what're we feeling... yuhh ok I got one... boom goes the dynamite. I'm on mobile so I can't type while I watch the song, so if I have anything; jfc why am I explaining this.
Yoooo, next up homiesssss: kapshhhh yo you guys wanna listen to some angel music later? I'm thinking there's a few we could play, Gloria's uhhhh I don't know if Gloria has anything new out but Gabriel and Anik and those guys all have like, er they just came out with a new album or whatever. Ooo, actually I haven't heard it yet, you guys wanna listen to one of theirs right now? Well wait, I already picked one. Ok do this one for now, we can listen to the other Archangels later, they're not going anywhere.
Wouldn't stop until I say so, alright, holy crap that went on for far too long. Took me until 3:20 to remember that I have free will and, uh, this isn't actually a livestream, I don't actually have to listen to the entire song: you guys aren't wearing my headphones right now. Honestly you guys it's a miracle I'm able to get out of bed at all in the morning, you'd think I'd be eating out of a tube in a deluxe gazebo right now if you catch my SABLABLE. sablablsablablsablabllabllabllablabl oh wait song ok yo so, that was kind of terrible I'm sorry you guys I mean but you still have to listen to it. Oh wait, you guys are exmormons, so you're not gonna do what Jesus says, are you? Dang it. Alright look, we can make a deal. I'll be Jesus and you'll do what I ask, but, you're gonna be Mr Swunkles and we're gonna put you in a little bonnet and put you up in your wittwe high chair, yes we are, and we're going to put you with Mr Stinky, oh yes, oh yes we is.. ok, um GOT IT. Brb. Boom.
Ok, yo, that one was a bop. Such a vibe, man. Alright, so now we're gonna play one that I wrote for Gabriel and Anik and Zoaster and whoever else is over there, iunno, Gabriel was the only one who's voice I remembered. Anyways, you're not going to believe this, but I'll tell you anyways, because it's hilarious. So like, I'm on acid. And like, I'm like talking to all these people telepathically. And I hear Gabriel, I don't remember exactly how the conversation went, but, basically, I gave him a song, I was in a state of mind where I could like instantly create and transfer to him because like, that's how we're built, we can do that kind of stuff when we're in our unfallen state. I imagine most of us are in a fallen state by this point, but you can get it back with psychedelics. Anyways, I give him a song, and I tell him, I'm like yo if this is real put a Mexican restaurant song on your album. So then a couple months go by, blah blah blah, yeah whatever, it's all whatever it was just he like I sent them a song or whatever, it's no big deal. But anyways here's Gabriel and my other bros. Oh but we're not going to play the song I wrote, it doesn't have a video and it's honestly not one of my favorites. Like it's cool but like, I dunno I'm kind of over the whole thing, like there's oh my God I'm doing it again, here:
Man, made it to the end of that one, that's for sure. Man, they're so freaking cool you guys. Freaking bunch of like you guys, like that's like the Capitol you know what I mean? Like when I get to them it's going to be like there's a new White House. It's only a matter of time; because I, am, the baddest of them all, and if you not bout money, then I don't mess with yall. Yall think I won't get girls, cuz I ain't very tall, something bout my stacks, I betchu that she calls. Anyways uh, I'm feeling more a7x, for sure dude, alright yeah let's play the one I sent them. Here
Damn dude I take it back, that song go hard as frig pancakes my guy. Haha, you get it you guys; because you were Mormon. Haha, oh, darn. Gee whiz you guys. Yikes! 😂😏😉🥵🥵🥵🥵🥵🥵🥵 alright uh what're we talking about rn, haha oh yeah, haha ok you guys aren't gonna buy this either... haha you guys wanna watch my wives send me messages? Lmao bruh you guys I am fully insane haha it is like what the frimminy frim frim am I right you guys? But watch this and know what I know.
You guys there's no way, I mean come on, there's no way. We're all in agreement you guys. I'm insane, I'm like bipolar or whatever. Cuz there's no freaking way, man. Anyways I want to watch more Red Velvet, let's see, uhhh how about this one, this one's pretty. I never could have gotten to this point without the help of Kpop girls. Imma, here, hold this, I'm gonna go throw myself a nice little slumber party down at the happy times funhouse silly head ranch down on Bartholemew and Brownlee, holy fucking shit man. Haha but fr, like, people think I'm like, schiczi... oh My God, haha how does this keep happening haha. Ok wait haha what haha uh did I link it
I'm not going to lie to you guys, those chicks make me feel retarded: so retarded that I actually use the word retarded in a sentence online, just to see how it feels. It feels incredible. Absolutely incredible: I'm on cloud nine, because, basically: I'm Young Dolph. So anyways, whoo whoooooo aiight aight aight aight now hollup, now hollup righ qui... blassohftypashhh, camasabringinaquaa... cabringinawhambadahwandarandathemdorktlpftyms? Is basically, wait, what level is this, DUMB DUMB. It's funny because I'm actually stupid enough to think that there are messages for me in these songs. Ahh, I shouldn't beat myself up... it's pretty sweet, either way. Like come on you guys, know that you know all of the famous people, like just know that. Just like know that you put them there, or whatever. Anyways, what? Anyways, so oh shit I already linked it haha yuhhhhh.
Anyways, there's like, symbolism in the video if you know what to look for, it's just like everything else in my life. Every step has just led to this, that's all it ever was. Anyways, yuh, let's blast off... lemme think... yuhh I'm feeling it, ok hold up: here.
Dang. That was awesome. They're so fire. I know they're not really my wives you guys, I know that. They could be. I could... you guys... now... ok... now hear me out... what if... and I'm just saying maybe.............................
Ok ur good. Ok wait wh nope can't uh can't uh I dunno I du I'm not scrolling back up I don't care... oh but yeah let's like become Mormon or whatever. But like, the good kind of Mormon, where all the coolest people get a ton of bitches. Yo that's shit so fire you guys. I'm gonna marry all the kpop girls, watch. I'm God's Son dude, what you think they're not gonna wanna fuck with God's Son? I freaking make people bro. Anyways, whatever; suckin down on farts in the afterburner: davy jones locker. Anyways, wuddup, oh yo, EVERGLOWW?? Dude, freaking everglow you guys. Glorious little sock puppets, you guys. My sweetest queen bees, my fine lil poppin ladies. I'll find it, hold up, I only know of one that has lyrics. I don't write em all on the earth, a lot I was writing in dream states, that was right before I saw the man with the hand puppet and he made me laugh! Haha he was so fun, I had a good time there with him, haha it was a good time, I enjoyed my time, thank you. The time: call it, Chef.
Yo, everglow goes so hard. They're my favorite Christian rock band. yoho m8ees it be ur ol pal Mr squidward here, yoho m8ees, let me, oh I'm ol Mr squidward, let me play my boohoin on my old clarinet; ol clarry, kim kim kim buree!! KaKAW kaKAW flap into phone pole fall on egg :egg brake: >:< < Fuck that song went hard, haha yo, this one was savage when it came out but like yo like everything is timed you know what I mean... like how would any of God's plans work if we didn't have cheats? We're beta testers dude.
Good grief man, what even is reality. Like what the hell is even going on right now. Like do you know? I do, sort of. So, ya know, basically, what I'm saying, is that I got one of those Navage things and I've been cleaning my nose with it every single night. I gotta tell you Maurice, you're a hell of a guy for recommending that to me.
Yo let's watch some aespa duuuuuudes BOOP #avonpark yo aespas so hard, I f with their stuff you know what I mean.
That song's so hard, what about, ok I got one more aespa song and then we can do something else because like, this isn't like, I don't even know why I'm talking about this stuff. It's just what I've been doing I guess. It's whatever, haha what am, where lol the exm haa oh haha that's funny haha oh ok yeah ok one more aespa, here. Don't stay up too late! Ah man I've got school tomorrow. Ughhb why-
So sums up Sabbath school. Um... Sunday you guys? When did I ever say Sunday? When did... WHEN THE... WHEN THE *. . . ALRIGHT NOW... HOLD THE * UP...
Time for the kids to go to bed, ladies. Fellas, bust out your codpiece, because let's face it:
Var mychemicalromance = true; Var Blumpflifm
Yo this ones fire
That's a freaking bop you guys. This one is too. OO ok yes it is a bop but I'm not listening to that one right now, I'm gonna DO haha do you GET it because I'm hehe well, snort don't you know hehe why yes why haha why yes quite I am, why yes hawhawhawwwww haw haww hawwwwww hawwwwwww hawwwwwww where am I ok hold up ok wait a second alright I've
Like don't you guys get it? Kpop girls are telling me to man up and save the world, all by myself. But, like, and see if you look, if you look here, past this diblansque, you'll see le petit mon cheri, yo if you watch all these in order your head might explode I'm not sure haha I'm not sure I mean like I know what the
Yo pop off
It's a muh flippin bop you guys. Alright watch this one and then go to bed. I've actually never heard this one, I've never listened to this album. Oh my goodness, you guys wouldn't believe it, I used to... I thought these guys were angels. Lmao yeah, yeah, about a hundred thousand years ago. I thought that, back then. Now though, it's-
Pretty damn clean, nice. That was a ride, always man, these guys man, they just get better and better and more creative and it's just awesome to see. They're awesome musicians, in any case. And if you're wondering about whether or not I'm in love with Matthew Sanders: only if he's ready to ride the Cyclometer. The Cyclometer: standing at over 9 feet, 9 inches tall, the Cyclometer is the newest function of the Metroidvania series. Join Koan, Rainbow and Blath as they adventure into the Cyclonian exhibit: Brace yourself as you Join a team of jer damn they look so fire I keep trying to play "I'm ***ing **" by me and Justin Bieber, but it's not out yet. they's some bois brehs, shoot guys it's getting kind of late on my end, I've got school in the morning. This one works in the small screen. This song is dope. The other one, not this one. Well like the previous like whatever this one is too.
. what's a rainbow, again? A spectrum? it's a great song alright
Nite, had fun. Definitely uhh... that was just... this is just what I do, you know what I mean? I like go around to different subs and DJ for em. It's just like a dropping thru type thing. If you stayed for any of it I hope you had a trill time. All my dudes and chicas really do be some trill ones, my ex morms, my good ol, hingle dingle pangle pingle porcupine pumpkins, ey? Oy deh bruv, u got wot today scrub. Oi I reckon we dis govna. Oy sir,
submitted by hijesushere to exmormon [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 18:25 reylomeansbalance Did Anne Boleyn Have a "Fair Trial"?
On May 15, 1536, Anne Boleyn and her brother, George, were convicted of adultery and incest and sentenced to death.
To modern eyes, what happened to those swept up in Anne Boleyn's fall is appalling, a gross miscarriage of justice. Even five hundred years later, we have documentary evidence to prove the charges in the indictment false. But according to the standards of the day, the criminal trial was fair and followed the standard legal procedures. King Henry wanted everything to be strictly "by the book." He knew the eyes of the world were watching this stunning course of events, an anointed queen on trial for treason.
In the Tower after her arrest, Anne Boleyn asked her jailor, William Kingston if she was "to die without justice." Kingston replied that even the poorest of the king's subjects had justice. Anne is recorded to have laughed at that, and some interpret that to be her ironic acknowledgement that the "justice" she was to receive was merely a formality before the inevitable execution.
If the letter "From the Lady in the Tower" is to be believed, Anne hoped an "open trial" would allow her to prove her innocence before the world. But it doesn't seem Anne ever had any doubt she and the others would be found guilty.
In the Tudor era, there was no presumption of innocence.
The accused had the burden of proving their innocence, but the design of the judicial system made that almost impossible.
The preliminary court investigated the allegations, heard testimony and questioned witnesses. They presented their findings in the indictment. The indictment was taken as more-or-less established fact by the trial court, not something to be challenged by the defendants on an evidentiary basis. The question before the trial court was how the accused would respond to these facts.
For the most part, people believed the accused had to be guilty, or they wouldn't have been charged with the crime in the first place.
Many believed if a person was truly innocent, God would intercede with a miracle to prove it. Anne herself may have believed this, as evinced by her statements to William Kingston that it wouldn't rain until she was delivered from the Tower, or if she died, there would be a great punishment visited on England within seven years.
As John Strype explains+would+vindicate+her+by+giving+or+withholding+the+clouds+of+heaven.%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=0r-o2Ze4Cy&sig=KE0gLLeH7_vT93965HfJ68UgZyk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=N2YqU8nYCsasqAG4ooHQDA&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%E2%80%9Cthinking%20probably%20that%20God%20(who%20takes%20care%20of%20innocency)%20would%20vindicate%20her%20by%20giving%20or%20withholding%20the%20clouds%20of%20heaven.%E2%80%9D&f=false) it:
... thinking probably that God (who takes care of innocency) would vindicate her, by giving, or withholding the clouds of Heaven. [...] This she spake no doubt in the confidence of her innocency; and God's righteous and visible judgments for the most part, for shedding innocent blood. And indeed within the seventh year following, happened a dreadful pestilence in London, and many commotions and insurrections to the end of this reign.
The jurors were selected by the prosecution.
Out of the fifty-plus peers in England, twenty-six were summoned. Many were hostile to the Boleyn and Howard families for one reason or the other, or owed their positions to the king's favor. In short, they were selected because they could be relied upon to deliver the verdict the king wanted. This was standard procedure.
Had the jury returned a verdict the monarch deemed "contrary to the evidence," the jurors could be fined or imprisoned. It wasn't a frequent occurrence, but it did happen. There's no doubt that was on the jurors' minds when they sat in judgement on the queen the king obviously wanted to be rid of.
It was also lawful to try a defendant again for the same crime if they were acquitted. William Brereton once convinced the king (supposedly with Anne's help) to re-instate murder charges against a man who had killed one of retainers. The man was convicted and hanged the second time around.
The accused had no advocates or legal representation to assist in their defense.
The chief justice of the trial was ostensibly supposed to ensure that the proceedings against the accused were entirely lawful and did not impugn the few rights a defendant had. William Hawkins explained the reasoning behind this in 1721 when he wrote that if the accused was innocent, they would be as effective as any lawyer, but if he was guilty, his demeanor and speech would reveal it.
Consider that most common defendants might be kept in a squalid prison for months, where they had to pay for their own food, bedding, and water for washing - then brought before the court filthy and starving, and expected to answer eloquently to charges they had just heard for the first time. The nobility had the advantage of comfortable conditions, but they didn't necessarily know the law well enough to ague effectively in their own defense.
The accused did not know the charges until the trial began.
Until the 1600s, there was no precedent for allowing the accused to know the charges for which they were to stand trial until the day they stepped into the courtroom. In other words, they were forced by the nature of the system to come up with a defense on the spot.
Most defendants were imprisoned before the trial, and held incommunicado. The could not gather evidence on their own behalf beforehand, nor call for witnesses to come and help them defend themselves.
Had Anne Boleyn known the charges beforehand, and if she had access to her own records, she could easily have proven she was not in the locations where the alleged offenses took place and could not possibly have committed the crimes.
No witnesses were called.
All of the witnesses had already given their testimony and been questioned by the preliminary court which had drawn up the indictments. There was no chance for the defendant to cross-examine them.
The sworn depositions of the witnesses were considered - essentially - an established fact beyond question.
In 1571, during the trial of the Duke of Norfolk, the Duke tried to question the testimony of one of the witnesses. One of the judges retorted, "He is sworn, there needeth no more proving."
The notion that sworn testimony was somewhat sacrosanct lasted for a long time within the English legal system. The law held that no one would dare to swear falsely for fear of the punishment God would unleash upon them.
To avoid the somewhat sticky situation in which defendants denied sworn testimony, the defendants were not sworn. But without the oath, their words had less weight than those of the sworn witnesses for the prosecution.
In 1554, defendant Nicholas Throckmorton attempted to bring in witnesses to testify on his behalf, but the witnesses were not "suffered to speak." When Throckmorton tried to protest, the chief justice on the case told him he had no grounds for complaint, for he had been permitted to speak in his own defense as long as he liked.
Hearsay was accepted as evidence.
We don't know what Lady Bridget Wingfield supposedly said on her deathbed, because the trial records do not survive. Years after her death, Bridget's husband - known to be hostile to Anne Boleyn - appeared at the trial to recount the statement as evidence for the prosecution.
Lancelot de Carles claims some of the major testimony against Anne Boleyn came from Sir Anthony Browne (as identified by John Hussee), who reported Browne had chided his sister - the Countess of Worcester - for appearing promiscuous, and in response, the Countess claimed the queen's behavior was worse.
Browne reported the Countess had told him Anne allowed men into her room at inappropriate times, and accused Anne of incest with George. There is no mention of the Countess being questioned or testifying directly about these matters - nor of the fact that the Countess secretly owed Anne a substantial amount of money, unbeknownst to her husband.
The last piece of hearsay evidence comes from the trial of George Boleyn. He was handed a piece of paper with the last charge of the indictment written upon it and cautioned to read it silently. George defiantly read it aloud. It was a claim that his sister had told Jane Parker the king was impotent. It does not appear that Anne herself was asked to corroborate whether she had said this to Jane.
There was also no right to remain silent, or to protect a defendant against self-incrimination.
The panicked babble of Anne after her arrest was used as evidence against her in the court. Indeed, Anne's arrest seemed to be engineered in order to take advantage of this trait she had of talking without guarding her words when she was frightened. Orders were given that every word she spoke was to be recorded, and her ladies were never to speak to the queen without Lady Kingston being present.
Testimony derived from torture was legal.
It's believed Mark Smeaton was tortured - or threatened with torture - in order to force a confession that he was Anne Boleyn's lover. George Constantine, the servant of Henry Norris, wrote about:
the saying was that he [Mark] was first grievously racked, which I never could know of a truth.
Torture was believed to be a tool for compelling "obstinate" persons to reveal the truth. It wasn't used as a punishment, or sadistic intent, but rather as a way of forcing the accused person to acknowledge what the prosecution believed to be factually established guilt. "Whereby he may be the better brought to confess the truth," one warrant reads. Another, written by Queen Elizabeth within a few months of her ascension, authorizes a man
to be brought to the rack, and to feel the smart thereof as the examiners by their discretion shall think good, for the better of boulting out the truth of the matter.
In the official records, warrants authorizing torture in criminal trials were issued eighty-one times between 1540 and 1640. There are undoubtedly more that aren't accounted for because of missing documents, gaps in the record and so forth. Certainly, a warrant for the torture of Mark Smeaton does not exist, but it could be part of the records of Anne Boleyn's trial which were apparently destroyed.
The nobility was exempt from the threat of torture. Only Mark Smeaton was eligible. It's probably not coincidental that Mark was the only one who confessed.
The threat of an incredibly painful death was probably also a factor. As a commoner, Smeaton would have experienced the full horrors of being drawn and quartered. In exchange for his confession, his sentence would be commuted to simple beheading, alongside the gentlemen. He may have needed no further incentive.
In short, there was little chance Anne Boleyn or any of her accused lovers had a chance of being found not guilty. In court, Anne and George gave the eloquent, "intelligent and plausible" defense of the innocent that was supposedly as good as a lawyer's assistance, but it availed them nothing. They were both found guilty, as Anne knew they would be. (In her post-conviction speech, she regretted her innocent brother would die with her, though he had not been put on trial yet.)
They were all encouraged to confess and throw themselves on the mercy of the king, but except for Smeaton, they all insisted upon their innocence. Norris, it's said, even offered to defend Anne's honor in a "trial by combat," an old legal tradition in which it was believed God would protect an innocent man and allow him to triumph in single combat.
Historian John Strype claimed to have seen a letter from Anne to Henry in which she angrily rejected a plea bargain which would require her to confess, and would insist upon her innocence, even if it meant death. Norris also is quoted as saying he would rather die a thousand deaths than condemn an innocent woman through falsehood.
Anne Boleyn did the one thing she could to restore her reputation, something even more powerful than the oath sworn by her accusers: she swore on the sacrament that she was innocent, both before consuming it, and afterward. The Tudors believed lying on the host merited instant damnation, an unforgivable sin. Anne would never have falsely sworn her innocence right before meeting her Maker. She called Kingston to witness it to make sure it would be recorded - just as her panicked words after her arrest had been - but this time, she would use that system to grasp the only vindication she could.
It was the only vindication she would get. She had hoped the trial would allow her to prove her innocence to the world, regardless of the actual verdict. However, none of the transcripts of the trial, examinations, or depositions survive. It's rather curious, for the records of the investigation of Katheryn Howard survive intact. But of Anne's trial, we have only the salacious indictment, and the verdict, slightly augmented by eyewitness testimony.
It's speculated the records were purposefully destroyed because the lack of evidence against the queen was troublesome, even given the lax standards of the day. It seems whomever destroyed them was relying on posterity continuing the contemporary presumption that a person charged with a crime must be guilty of it. They seem to have hoped Anne Boleyn would simply fade from the records and be forgotten as a shameful blot on history. They could never have anticipated our enduring fascination with her. Perhaps this, then, is the miracle Anne Boleyn hoped for.
submitted by reylomeansbalance to anneboleyn_in_context [link] [comments]